Philips, ever the purveyor of useful biotechnology, has developed an intelligent pill. The device contains a chip, a battery, a wireless radio, a pump and a drug reservoir. The device is still only a prototype, but it’ll be presented at a conference in Atlanta later this month and Philips say it’s already suitable for serial manufacturing.
It’s also got a thermometer and acidity sensor, thought to be a minituarised human with some litmus paper. The idea is that it waits until it’s in exactly the right part of your gut before it releases its life-giving load and makes your tummy feel all better. It means that much lower doses of powerful drugs can be used.
Philips is currently researching into a less invasive procedure for treating patients with cancer and other conditions, using drug-loaded microbubbles.
These bubbles are about the same size as red blood cells, and can be injected into a patient’s bloodstream and then tracked via ultrasound imaging.
Drugs would only be released once they reached the required place – a tumour growth, for example. Not only might this increase the effectiveness of the drug, but cut down on unpleasant side-effects…