Magnetic Pills Steered Within The Body

Brown University researchers have found a way to steer a magnetic pill to a precise location; for example, a tumor in the colon.


(Precise drug delivery with magnetic pill)

"What we developed could be extremely useful for improving bioavailability for drugs that have even narrow therapeutic windows," says Mathiowitz, referring to drugs that are absorbed only in specific regions of the gastrointestinal tract. "You can use it in two ways: a retention system for the stomach [to ensure the patient receives the desired dosage] and for localization in specific regions of the gastrointestinal tract—regions that are very hard to reach."

In experiments, Mathiowitz's team moved pills through the stomachs and intestines of rats. They developed a system to measure and control the force between a one-millimeter-long magnet within the pill and a large external magnet used to control its movement. The system automatically moves the external magnet closer to or farther from the pill's magnet to maintain the minimum amount of force that will manipulate the pill, avoiding harm to the animal's intestine or stomach.

In the 1966 science fiction movie Fantastic Voyage, researchers miniaturize a delivery mechanism and inject it into a human body. The Proteus was self-steering (due to its miniaturized pilots), but was also directed from the outside.


(1966 Fantastic Voyage)

Via Technology Review.

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