The development, manufacture and sale of pharmaceutical drugs in the United States is a complex landscape involving intellectual property and strict federal regulations. But according to Colorado State University scientists, the status quo of the U.S. pharmaceutical market may soon be turned on its head. That's due in part to a growing community of do-it-yourself "biohackers" who are disrupting business-as-usual for pharmaceutical discovery, development and distribution. A Sept. 13 perspective piece in Trends in Biotechnology frames these emerging issues, and predicts how the pharmaceutical industry, and the U.S. regulatory environment, will need to change in response. The paper's authors are Jean Peccoud, the Abell Chair in Synthetic Biology in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering; Jenna Gallegos, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering; and collaborators from Bio-Link Australia, Woodrow Wilson International Center for … [Read more...] about Open insulin, ‘DIY bio’ and the future of pharma
Sliding scale insulin
WASHINGTON — Rising prices for insulin are getting scrutiny from diabetes patients, physicians and politicians. More than 7 million Americans with diabetes need insulin to control their blood sugar and stave off dangerous complications. The average price of insulin tripled between 2002 and 2013, according to the American Medical Association. The group recently called on regulators to monitor competition among the three drugmakers who control the market. Meanwhile, several congressional lawmakers are probing the multibillion dollar insulin market. Drugmakers generally blame higher prices on health care middlemen who they say drive up prescription costs. Some drugmakers have pledged to limit their annual increases and also offer assistance to lower-income patients. The Associated Press spoke with diabetes specialist Dr. Robert Lash, an executive with the Endocrine Society, about insulin prices. The questions and answers have been edited for clarity and length. Q: How long has … [Read more...] about Insider Q&A: What’s behind rising insulin prices?
Work in the labratory shows promise for a new kind of insulin pill that may be able to help millions of people with diabetes avoid daily injections, researchers said Monday. Much more work is needed before the pill, designed by researchers at Harvard University, can be tested in people or possibly be made available on a wide scale. Until now, the main challenge in developing an insulin pill has been finding a way to preserve the insulin protein once it encounters stomach acid. The experimental pill described in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences carries insulin in a liquid, enclosed in a coating that resists acid breakdown in the stomach. The polymer coating dissolves when it reaches the alkaline environment of the small intestine, allowing liquid carrying insulin to be released. "Once ingested, insulin must navigate a challenging obstacle course before it can be effectively absorbed into the bloodstream," said senior author Samir Mitragotri, professor of … [Read more...] about Insulin Pill Promises No More Type 1 Diabetes Injections
Given the choice of taking a pill or injecting oneself with a needle, most of us would opt to regulate a chronic health condition by swallowing a pill. But for millions of people living with type 1 diabetes, a painful needle prick once or twice daily is the only option for delivering the insulin that their bodies cannot produce on their own. Now, researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed an oral delivery method that could dramatically transform the way in which diabetics keep their blood sugar levels in check. Not only does oral delivery of insulin promise to improve the quality of life for up to 40 million people with type 1 diabetes worldwide, it could also mitigate many of the disease's life-threatening side effects that result from patients failing to give themselves required injections. The research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Insulin therapy, by injection just under the … [Read more...] about Delivering insulin in a pill
More hospitals nationwide are hiring peer recovery coaches — people who have managed to beat addiction — to help current patients battling substance use disorder. But there is still one major unknown to be discovered: Do they help?That’s the question Boston Medical Center will aim to answer with a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “For the most part, it’s a model that really hasn’t been studied deeply,” said Dr. Ricardo Cruz, the principal investigator of Project RECOVER and a researcher with the Grayken Center for Addiction at BMC. “We thought it would be a good opportunity to look into this and see if it can help get individuals engaged and retained into treatment.”Boston Medical’s Project RECOVER will hire two recovery coaches — one working with patients at Lahey Health Behavioral Services’ Boston Treatment Center, and the other at Dimock Community Health … [Read more...] about Marchers bring protest of soaring insulin costs to Cambridge drugmakers