A controllable endoscopic capsule that patients can swallow like a pill and let doctors explore inside of their bodies has been developed by researchers.
Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) have successfully tested a prototype of the capsule that has the ability to "swim" through the body and could provide clinicians with unprecedented control when photographing the inside of the human body.
The capsule can be equipped with a camera.
Once inside the patient's digestive track, a doctor can "steer" the capsule through the body using an MRI machine, photograph specific areas of interest, and view those pictures wirelessly.
"Our goal is to develop this capsule so that it could be used to deliver images in real time, and allow clinicians to make a diagnosis during a single procedure with little discomfort or risk to the patient," said Noby Hata, a researcher in the Department of Radiology at BWH and leader of the development team for the endoscopic capsule.
"Ideally, in the future we would be able to utilize this technology deliver drugs or other treatments, such as laser surgery, directly to tumors or injuries within the digestive track," Hata added.
BWH researchers Hata and his colleague, Peter Jakab, tested the capsule in an MRI machine and proved that it can be manipulated to "swim" through a tank of water.
The next step in their research is to successfully test the capsule inside a human body.