Gastric bypass surgery has long been a remedy for those with type 2 diabetes, being that it essentially reduces the size of the stomach and the amount of absorption occurring in the small intestine. This operation has been very effective in treating type 2 diabetes, however in addition to the general burden of surgery, the operation can give rise to hernias, infection, ulcers, blood clotting, and even death.
Aiming to eliminate surgery in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, a group of researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) has created a drug called LuCI (luminal coating of the intestine). The function of the drug is to coat the intestinal lining and reduce nutrient absorption, mimicking the effects of a gastric bypass. When tested on rats, LuCI was able to lower their response to glucose in food by 47%, providing evidence that the drug could be an effective means of controlling type 2 diabetes. The pills effects are not irreversible however, with its effects wearing off several hours after ingestion.
Despite its promising results from experimentation with rats, the drug still must undergo further testing to be considered for human consumption. Researchers plan on testing LuCI on obese and diabetic rats next to test its efficacy on managing the condition it set out to treat. If these experiments yield the same results as those performed on healthy rats, we may be one step closer to achieving the “surgery in a pill” treatment of type two diabetes.