Large-protein drugs generally can’t pass through the mucus barrier that lines the digestive tract. Insulin and most other “biologic drugs” with proteins or nucleic acids thus must be injected or administered in a hospital, according to MIT’s news website.
The researchers believe the new drug capsule developed at MIT could one day replace those injections. It features a robotic cap that spins. This helps it tunnel through the mucus barrier when it reaches the small intestine. Thus, drugs carried by the capsule can pass into the cells lining the intestine.