New wireless ingestible capsule can deliver drugs using Bluetooth tech
Boston: Researchers have designed an ingestible capsule that can be controlled using Bluetooth wireless technology to deliver drugs, and sense environmental conditions. The capsule can reside in the stomach for at least a month, transmitting information and responding to instructions from a user's smartphone, said researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US.
The capsules, manufactured using 3D-printing technology, could be deployed to deliver drugs to treat a variety of diseases, particularly in cases where drugs must be taken over a long period of time. They could also be designed to sense infections, allergic reactions, or other events, and then release a drug in response, according to the study published in the journal Advanced Materials Technologies.
"Our system could provide closed-loop monitoring and treatment, whereby a signal can help guide the delivery of a drug or tuning the dose of a drug," said Giovanni Traverso, a visiting scientist in MIT. These devices could also be used to communicate with other wearable and implantable medical devices, which could pool information to be communicated to the patient's or doctor's smartphone.
"We are excited about this demonstration of 3D printing and of how ingestible technologies can help people through novel devices that facilitate mobile health applications," said Robert Langer, a professor at MIT. The researchers set out to combine many of the features they had previously developed.
In 2016, the researchers designed a star-shaped capsule with six arms that fold up before being encased in a smooth capsule. After being swallowed, the capsule dissolves and the arms expand, allowing the device to lodge in the stomach.
Similarly, the new device unfolds into a Y-shape after being swallowed. This enables the device to remain the stomach for about a month, before it breaks into smaller pieces and passes through the digestive tract.