We write about new developments for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes nearly every week. Diabetes continues to increase worldwide; people continue to resist the lifestyle changes that can prevent or lessen the effects of diabetes. New medical technology have the potential to save billions of dollars in reduced healthcare costs. We’ve written about a breathalyzer that diagnoses Type 1 diabetes and a study by Evidation Health and Tidepool evaluating data gathered while people with T1D sleep looking for relationships between low blood sugar at night and daily activities.

A research team with members from MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Harvard Medical School have developed an ingestible capsule holds a needle made of compressed insulin. The capsule could potentially allow people to take a pill rather than inject themselves to get enough insulin in their body to lower their blood sugar to acceptable levels.

The capsule contains a single, spring-loaded insulin needle. The spring is compressed by a small sugar disk. After the capsule is swallowed and the capsule itself and the sugar disk dissolve in the stomach, the spring injects the needle into the stomach wall.

The MIT-led team is working to further develop the technology and the optimal manufacturing process to produce the capsules. According to the researchers, the same mechanism could be used with any protein-based medication that has to be injected, such as DNA and RNB nucleic acids and immunosuppressants used to treat conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.