A New Pill Could Spot And Track Disease
Suffering from gastroesophageal (GE) junction cancer? A new study highlights, an expandable pill that can stay in the stomach for a month could help diagnose and monitor a myriad of gastro ills, including GE.
The pill has a Jell-O-like consistency. Once it reaches the stomach, it quickly swells to the size of a ping-pong ball and is resistant to the stomach’s roiling acidic environment, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) team.
If the pufferfish-inspired pill needs to be removed, a patient can drink a solution of calcium that causes the pill to quickly shrink to its original size and pass safely out of the body, the study authors explained in an MIT news release.
For the study, the researchers embedded small temperature sensors into several pills that were fed to pigs, which have stomachs and gastrointestinal tracts very similar to humans. After retrieving the sensors from the pigs’ stool, the investigators found that they accurately tracked the pigs’ daily activity patterns for up to 30 days. However, animal research does not always pan out in humans.
The pill is made from two types of hydrogels, mixtures of polymers and water, making it