15 November, 2008

Smart self navigating pill finds its way

The research department of Philips has developed a pill, the iPill, which navigates individually in the intestines to locate the right destination to release the medicines. The trick is that the pill is equipped with sensors that measure the acidity and temperature, therefore the location of the gastrointestinal tract. The sensors are controlled by a microprocessor and software, which activate a pomp to release the medicines at once or gradually, when arrived at target. To follow the pill externally, the pill also contains a build-in radio-chip.

The prototype is a 2,6 centimetre long plastic capsul with a diameter van 1,1 centimetre. One third of the size is used as the medicine-compartment, thanks to the miniaturisation of the electronics. It has been tested in the laboratory, but has not been tested on animals or humans.

The smart design of the pill can be used to target specific locations in the body, using biologics, which only intervene on specific locations in a inflammatory reaction.

Variations in the acidity of the body, together with the travel-time of the pill, give a very accurate localisation in the body. At the exit of the stomach, the surrounding is less acidic, whereas at the transition of the small intestine to the colon, the acidity increases significantly.

Drugs, Humans