APR 24, 2019 10:54 AM PDT

Self-Inflating Capsule To Tackle Obesity

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

A team of collaborative researchers have developed a self-inflating weight management capsule used for the treatment of obesity called the EndoPil. The ‘pill’ is actually a prototype capsule containing a balloon that can be self-inflated through a handheld magnet once it is in the stomach—which will induce a sense of fullness. The inflation occurs as a result of a magnetically activated reaction between an acid and a salt and is stored in a capsule producing carbon dioxide which fills up the balloon. The idea is to allow the pill to be safe and effective for oral ingestion—however, clinical trials using this route for administration have not started.

Measuring about 3cm by 1cm, the EndoPil prototype capsule contains a balloon that can be self-inflated with a handheld magnet once it is in the stomach, thus inducing a sense of fullness. Its magnetically activated inflation mechanism causes a reaction between a harmless acid and a salt stored in the capsule, which produces carbon dioxide to fill up the balloon. Credit: NTU Singapore

If successful, this could potentially be a breakthrough non-invasive alternative for tackling the growing global obesity epidemic. Currently, severely obese patients cannot undergo surgery and those who are moderately obese may opt out of surgery if too ill. Therefore, the only option left is another invasive method involving an intragatsric balloon insertion into the stomach through an endoscopy which can render patients with episodes of vomiting.

However, EndoPil may soon be a better option as its viability was confirmed in pig studies and findings were reported in a supplement of scientific journal Gastroenterology.

Professor Louis Phee, a Tan Chin Tuan Centennial Professor in Mechanical Engineering at NTU, explains that, "EndoPil's main advantage is its simplicity of administration. All you would need is a glass of water to help it go down and a magnet to activate it. We are now trying to reduce the size of the prototype, and improve it with a natural decompression mechanism. We anticipate that such features will help the capsule gain widespread acceptance and benefit patients with obesity and metabolic diseases."

Professor Lawrence Ho from the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, also adds, "EndoPil's compact size and simple activation using an external hand-held magnet could pave the way for an alternative that could be administered by doctors even within the outpatient, and primary care setting. This could translate to no hospital stay, and cost saving to the patients and health system."

Source: NanYang Technological University- Singapore

About the Author
  • Nouran enjoys writing on various topics including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
DEC 15, 2019
Drug Discovery & Development
DEC 15, 2019
Genital Herpes Vaccine Works in Rodents
A recent vaccine was developed by scientists at Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania that protects against genital herpes. The vac...
DEC 15, 2019
Genetics & Genomics
DEC 15, 2019
Non-Invasive Gene Therapy Holds Promise for Treating Blindness
Researchers at John Hopkins Medicine have found a way to deliver sight-saving gene therapy to the retina. Having already shown success in treating rates, p...
DEC 15, 2019
Drug Discovery & Development
DEC 15, 2019
Aspirin May Reduce Effects of Air Pollution on Lungs
New research findings, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, are the first to suggest that the nonsteroidal anti-inf...
DEC 15, 2019
Drug Discovery & Development
DEC 15, 2019
Can Aspirin Prevent a Brain Bleed?
Can aspirin prevent a brain bleed? To answer the questions, researchers rummaged through a database system looking to see an association between aspirin us...
DEC 15, 2019
Cancer
DEC 15, 2019
How caloric restriction mimetics might prove helpful for cancer treatments
The benefits of fasting have been known to scientists and medical professionals for some time now, however for many, the reality of fasting is not alluring...
DEC 15, 2019
Genetics & Genomics
DEC 15, 2019
Can CRISPR Replace Antibiotics?
Antibiotic-resistant infections claim around 700,000 lives per year, with estimates saying that this number could swell to 10 million by 2050 (Jacobs: 2019...
Loading Comments...