A new vibrating pill, ingestible sensor can tackle gut disorders
Researchers used pigs to test vibrating pills to diagnose or cure gastrointestinal disorder, and are not hoping to get approval from US Food and Drug Administration for human clinical trials.
Medical researchers are turning to tiny robots, or vibrating pills, to diagnose or cure gastrointestinal disorders, according to a research that was published in the journal Nature Electronics on Monday.
"This is a very booming field," said Saransh Sharma, a doctoral student at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) who has been involved in developing the ingestible diagnostic sensor.
"You have medical robots that are so small you can just send them inside a person using the oral passage and they can do a lot of sensing and actuation inside the gut," Sharma told AFP.
According to health authorities in the United States, around 16 of each 100 adults in the country suffer from constipation, and the figure doubles for those over the age of 60.
An ingestible sensor that is able to be monitored as it moves through the digestive tract has been developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Caltech.
The sensor is 20 millimeters long and has a diameter of eight mm. It has the ability to help diagnose gastrointestinal motility disorders that keep food from going normally through the digestive tract.
The location of the capsule uncovers the location of a slowdown.
"That gives the doctor a lot of the essential information to do a better job in the curing and the diagnosis and the treatment plan," Sharma said.
The sensor, which has been tested on pigs, can be an alternative to endoscopy or other diagnostic techniques, like catheters, nuclear imaging, or X-rays. Researchers are awaiting an approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for human clinical trials.
"If we can demonstrate a device inside large animals like pigs up to a very high confidence, we can say that it will scale very well in human anatomy as well," Sharma said.
The drug-free Vibrant capsule is for those who suffer from constipation and have not been relieved a month after using laxative treatments. It has been FDA-approved.
In a clinical trial involving 300 individuals, those who took Vibrant had bowel movements more frequently than those who took a placebo.
According to the manufacturer, the Vibrant capsule produces gentle vibrations to stimulate the colon and raises bowel movements' frequency.