US researchers have come up with a controllable endoscopic capsule which can swim through the body after being swallowed.
The pill was tested by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The capsule is swallowed and can be equipped with a camera.
Once it has entered the digestive track of the patient, a doctor can use an MRI machine to steer the capsule through the body, and photograph areas of interest. These pictures can be viewed wirelessly.
This represents an advance in endoscopic capsule technology, since current generation technology has the capsule tumbling randomly through the digestive track. The additional control in steering, camera aiming and picture taking allows much more effective diagnosis.
The eventual goal is to have capsule deliver images in real time, and allow clinicians to make a diagnosis during a single procedure with little discomfort or risk to the patient.
The technology could also be used to deliver drugs or other treatments such as laser surgery with, well, laser precision to tumours or injuries found within the digestive track.