Thursday, September 28, 2000

Looking Forward to a Future Without Needles
(ARA) - No needles for drugs and vaccines - a concept simple in theory but complex in technology and execution. However, Endorex Corporation (AMEX: DOR) a drug delivery company based in Lake Forest, IL, is at the forefront of research to allow drugs such as insulin, human growth hormone, vaccines, and potentially many others to be taken orally instead of by often-painful shots. It is not difficult to understand why this would be a very popular development in healthcare.

Receiving shots is a particularly big problem for children. The U.S. pediatric immunization schedule calls for up to 21 separate shots during the first two years of life! Even after this period, children will receive further injections. For example, kids with growth hormone deficiency or severe allergies receive several weekly injections for up to 2 years or children with insulin dependent diabetes receive several injections a day for life. It is no wonder pediatricians estimate that 85 percent of their patients fear getting injections.

Needle-phobia is also prevalent among adults and is present in more than 15% of the population. When you consider the scope of drugs that must now be delivered by injections, it is easy to see why an oral alternative is desirable. Consider the following statistics: 50 million Americans get annual flu shots and 1.5 million diabetics get two to three insulin shots daily.

As compared to an injection, the swallowing of a pill or liquid is obviously preferable for most people. In medical terms, pills are expected to boost drug-taking compliance, particularly when factoring in such chronic conditions as diabetes and allergies, where shots are needed on a continuous basis. Furthermore, having a patient swallow a pill or drink a liquid is far more convenient and also less expensive than administering a shot. The impact on the overall healthcare system could be significant.

At the core of Endorex's efforts is the Orasome technology that has been licensed from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for the oral delivery of selected drugs. Finding an effective way to encapsulate and protect these fragile drugs is crucial, since typically the molecules break down in the stomach and upper digestive tract before the molecules begin their therapeutic effect. Endorex's technology essentially wraps the drugs in a protective coating for their trip through the stomach and upper gastrointestinal tract, allowing them to be released in the lower intestine and eventually into the blood stream. Through this process, drugs taken orally can potentially be as effective as an injection.

As technology progresses, we may all be looking forward to a future with no more painful needles.

Courtesy of ARA Content,, e-mail:

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