Sending tiny, ant-sized doctors into your stomach to look for diseases sounds a bit far-fetched, doesn’t it? Okay then, what about a little pill that does the same thing? That’s just what Oxford University researchers have developed.
These cutting edge capsules, developed by BioMe Oxford, can slither through your innards (your intestine to be exact) en route to a particular spot inside the human body, chosen by the doctor administering the pills.
The polymer plastic pills are ‘smart’ and know when they have reached their pre-determined intestinal destination. When the capsules arrive, they gather microbes that can then be tested back in the laboratory.
Doctors can use the pills to test for a variety of diseases, which could be a major leap forward in the medical field.
It would allow doctors to gather microbe samples from areas of the human body which are not readily accessible, eliminating the need for patients to go through the uncomfortable feeling of having an invasive endoscopy (which is when they shove a camera inside you which, for most of us normal folk, is not appealing).
BioMe co-founder Soren Thomsen told the Oxford Mail that his team hadn’t quite mastered the pills yet, but were well advanced in their development.
The capsules would likely be priced at about $4 a pop, a hell of a lot cheaper than an endoscopy procedure, which can cost well over $1000.
“Building a small capsule that works within your body is quite science fiction,” Mr Thomsen said.
“We have to be careful not to call it a product, as it’s still very much something we are working on but if we were successful, it would be substantially different to other products out there.
“The key advantage over existing technologies is that our product can sample any part of your intestines in a non-invasive manner, making it uniquely suitable for both research and diagnostic purposes.”
You can’t deny that sounds infinitely more appealing than having a long camera jammed up your jacksie.