P. Sunderarajan

It is now getting ready to conduct clinical

trials with human subjects

Institute developing an artificial heart valve

that will help patients undergo MRI scans

NEW DELHI: There is some good news for insulin-dependent diabetic patients. Soon, they may not have to undergo painful jabs of insulin injection to keep their sugar levels under control. They may just have to pop in a tablet or gulp down a spoon of the medicine.

The Thiruvananthapuram-based Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology has successfully demonstrated the possibility of developing an oral insulin preparation in experiments on mice. It is now getting ready to conduct clinical trials with human subjects to establish its efficacy and viability. Institute Director K. Mohandas said the technology was based on nanotechnology. The technology, which recently passed the proof of concept stage in experiments with mice, has been transferred to US Vitamin, a Mumbai-based company, for further development.

“We are now getting ready to conduct clinical trials in association with US Vitamin. We will decide whether it should be a tablet or in a liquid form later.”

Speaking to reporters here, he said the institute was developing a new artificial heart valve that would help the patients undergo MRI scans, if required. The new valve would make this possible as its casing would be made of titanium. Now, the casing was made of a cobalt-chromium alloy. The Chennai-based TTK Health Care, making and marketing the present valve, was also involved in the development of the valve, which might cost Rs. 16,000 a piece, almost the same as the present valve, Dr. Mohandas said.

The Union Science and Technology Ministry has put out on its web site a draft of the proposed legislation to regulate the medical devices industry for eliciting public opinion. The legislation is aimed at increasing the share of domestic manufacturers by laying down standards for the devices.

Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal said 85 per cent of the medical devices were being imported in the absence of standards. “The industry is now valued at Rs. 15,000 crore, with an annual growth rate of 12-14 per cent. Of this, imports accounted for 85 per cent. We want to change the situation and ensure that the share of domestic industry is increased to at least 50 per cent in the next 10 years,” he said.