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Self-inflating swellable capsule for weight management



Researchers from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have developed a swellable self-inflating capsule that enlarges in the stomach under the influence of a hand-held magnet. By filling a portion of the stomach, the balloon creates a feeling of fullness that helps obese patients reduce the amount they eat. The capsule is conceived as a non-invasive alternative to current intragastric balloons used to treat obesity delivered during sedation by an endoscope.

Intragastric balloons are a well-established treatment for obesity in patients struggling to control their eating. However, the balloon must be inserted into the stomach through endoscopy, which means that the patient is sedated before being inflated through a tube. This invasive procedure is then repeated inversely six months later when the balloon is removed.

The typical procedure is not suitable for all patients, and sometimes the balloon may cause patients to experience side effects such as vomiting and nausea. In fact, 20% of patients require rapid balloon removal as they cannot tolerate these side effects. During 6-month balloon placement, the stomach may become accustomed to the balloon, which means it is less effective in reducing overeating.

To solve these problems, the Nanyang research group developed a non-invasive alternative that they have called EndoPil. Covered with a hard outer gelatin coating measures the capsule approx. three centimeters by one centimeter. It contains a magnetically activated inflation valve along with salt and acid stored in separate compartments.

When the capsule is swallowed, the stomach acid goes through the outer coating. An external magnet held in the stomach can break the magnetic inflation valve so that salt and acid can be mixed, resulting in the formation of carbon dioxide, which slowly inflates the balloon to a maximum volume of 120 ml. After one month, the device can be vented and pass through the intestines before being expelled by the body. Since it is relatively easy to place another balloon in the abdomen, another short treatment cycle may begin shortly if desired.

EndoPil avoids the need for endoscopy. Because it can be inflated slowly without tubes, the device can help reduce side effects. The shorter treatment cycles can also help prevent the stomach from getting used to the balloon, which means that the treatment can be more effective.

However, the new balloons need to be further tested to determine how useful they are to obese patients. The researchers are currently planning a clinical trial to see if the capsule can be successfully exhausted in the stomach and expelled from the body.

Study in PLOS ONE : Development and testing of a magnetically activated capsule endoscopy for obesity treatment …

Via: Nanyang Technological University, Singapore …


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