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Samantha Poling reports
"For those who face the daily stress of injecting it will be very welcome"
 real 56k

Wednesday, 11 April, 2001, 13:31 GMT 14:31 UK
Scientists seek to end injections
Injection
The new process could see and end to injections
Scientists have invented what has been hailed as a highly cost-effective method of administering drugs which could see an end to injections.

People with conditions like cystic fibrosis, diabetes and multiple sclerosis will instead be able to take their treatments by inhaling them.

It is hoped the system will be on the market within the next three years.

Until now drugs based on natural proteins such as insulin have had to be given to patients by injection, because if they were made into pills they would be broken down by the stomach.

Laboratory worker
It is hoped the treatment will be available soon
Biotechnologists at the University of Glasgow have joined with the University of Strathclyde to patent a method of dry protein-coated microcrystals.

When the crystals are made small enough they can be inhaled.

The particles must be small enough to get through the tiny passages that lead to the deep lung.

It is from there the particles are transferred into the blood stream.

It is the first time anyone in the world has made proteins small enough to be inhaled.

Artificial lung

Scientists believe there will be a big demand for delivering drugs that do not require injections.

The team developing the process has used an artificial lung to test that the particles are small enough to pass through the convoluted passageways.

A Scottish Enterprise proof of concept grant has allowed the university teams to develop a drug that could have commercial uses.

The universities believe that they could have a product in the marketplace within two to five years.

And they say that this technology could go on to dominate the drug delivery market.

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