New system is like 3D GPS for tracking pill cams through the GI tract

Researchers in the United States have developed a platform that can wirelessly track 3D ingestible devices as they move through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which may provide a less expensive and less invasive way to to investigate, diagnose and treat disorders that affect gastric motility.

Gastric motility disorders such as Crohn’s disease, gastroparesis (when the stomach does not empty properly), incontinence and constipation affect many people around the world. They occur when the nerves or muscles in the gut don’t work in a coordinated way, which can cause intestinal spasms or paralysis.

Currently, the most common methods of investigating and monitoring gastrointestinal motility disorders include endoscopy and the use of potentially harmful radiation, such as nuclear medicine scanners and computed tomography (CT). Although they represent the gold standard, these types of investigations are not only expensive and invasive, but they must also take place in a hospital setting.

Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston have teamed up with engineers from MIT and Caltech to develop a new method for tracking ingestible, wireless, noninvasive microdevices used for gastrointestinal monitoring that can be used in a non-medical setting. clinical.

While video capsule endoscopy (“pill cams”) and wireless motility capsules (WMC) are already in use, neither can directly measure where the camera is in the gastrointestinal tract.

The newly developed platform includes an ingestible microdevice for anatomical mapping of the gastrointestinal tract (iMAG), which interfaces with a wireless Bluetooth receiver, such as a smartphone, to map field data to location spatial matching, allowing real-time position tracking of the device as it moves through the gut.

The system relies on high-efficiency flat electromagnetic (EM) coils placed in the patient’s back to generate a local and safe 3D magnetic field. The coils can be installed in a backpack or jacket or attached to a toilet seat for continuous IG monitoring.

The iMAG was tested on a pig, given the anatomical similarities of the animal’s gastrointestinal tract with the human gastrointestinal tract. By tracking the device using magnetic field and X-ray measurements, the researchers found that the iMAG was very accurate at measuring pig gut activity.

The researchers foresee several clinical uses for the device, including diagnosing and treating diseases that delay or accelerate intestinal motility. The EM coils used by the system can easily be incorporated into “smart” clothing to monitor bowel movements.

Additionally, the device has the potential to be used therapeutically to deliver drugs or electrical stimulation directly to a particular anatomical structure of the intestine.

“We report here the three-dimensional localization and tracking of wireless ingestible microdevices in the gastrointestinal tract of large animals in real time and with millimeter-scale resolution,” said Giovanni Traverso, MD, PhD, corresponding author of the study. “Such a portable, non-invasive procedure offers the potential for significant clinical benefit without causing patient discomfort.”

Safety studies in large animals will need to be done before human trials begin.

The study was published in Natural electronics.

Source: Natural electronics via Eurek alert!

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