Researchers at the University of California have developed bubblegum that allows medication to be taken orally and then absorbed into the bloodstream, removing the need for injections.
Drugs such as insulin currently have to be injected because the human digestive system destroys them before they have a chance to be absorbed into the bloodstream. The new gum contains microscopic capsules holding the drugs which are gradually released by chewing and, when swallowed, stick to the wall of the gut by means of tiny spines and release the drug into the bloodstream.
Professor Tejal Desai's team is currently working on optimizing the adhesion and rate of supply of the drugs. The findings are to be published at the annual meeting of the American Institute of Physics.
In addition to insulin, hormones and anti-inflammatories could be delivered using the gum. Tests are under way to see if the gum is safe for use by humans and to discover a simple way of removing it from the sidewalk after use.