Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

October 02, 2002

U of G Researcher Finds Spray Insulin Is Safe in Dogs

A University of Guelph researcher has found that dogs can safely receive insulin through a spray pump similar to an asthma inhaler, which means human diabetics may be closer to taking insulin without needles.

Dana Allen, a clinical studies professor at the Ontario Veterinary College, found no adverse effects in the 40 healthy beagles that received three puffs of Oralin, the oral insulin spray, three times a day for a year.

Insulin is currently administered by an injection underneath the skin to help diabetics keep their blood sugar levels as close to the target range as possible. The various insulin programs range from one or two injections per day up to three or four. If Oralin is approved, it could eliminate needles from the daily routine of diabetics because it allows insulin to be absorbed through the mucous membrane of the mouth.

"The important thing is, Oralin doesn't have to be inhaled," said Allen. "It's directly absorbed across the mouth, so it'll be good for children, the elderly or debilitated individuals because they wonít need to take a deep breath to get the drug into their lungs." The dose of the oral insulin spray can be controlled by the number of puffs administered.

Allen starting working on this project 10 years ago with Pankaj Modi, the inventor of Oralin and the chief scientific officer of Generex, the Toronto research and development company that is developing the product. "He has developed a product that helps drugs get absorbed directly across the mucus membranes of the mouth," said Allen.

In the first phase of the research, Allen's team administered three puffs of the formulation that helps absorb drugs through the mouth, without using insulin. The dogs received three puffs three times a day for a year. "That was to make sure the initial formulation was safe because itís the vehicle they're going to use for all other drugs," said Allen. The researchers then continued the study with the insulin in the spray for a second year.

Allen said the dogs experienced no side effects that he could detect following the 24 months of study. "It was easy to administer, and it didn't bother the dogs. They didnít salivate; they didn't lick their lips. As it turned out, the dogs actually looked forward to it."

Diabetes is increasing in prevalence. According to the Canadian Diabetes Association, more than 150 million people, including two million Canadians, have the disease and that number is estimated to grow to 300 million by 2025.

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