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'Camera-pill' developed for internal medicine

August 20, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
New research aims to give doctors a unique view inside the human body using a remote-controlled capsule. It's not science fiction, it's reality. This new "swimming pill" can help doctors find hard-to-treat problems.

New research aims to give doctors a unique view inside the human body using a remote-controlled capsule. It's not science fiction, it's reality. This new "swimming pill" can help doctors find hard-to-treat problems.

"This capsule can stop or move or aim at the disease lesions so that you can actually try to cure the lesion," said Noby Hata, co-inventor of the new capsule.

The capsule is designed to be swallowed like a pill. Doctors will be able to control the camera magnetically from outside using an MRI machine's magnetic signals.

Hata says the MRI works much like a GPS.

"You will see the cross-section of the body and also the little capsule in the middle and you can navigate this capsule using this map as guidance," said Hata.

So far, he's successfully tested a prototype of the capsule in a fish tank inside an MRI machine. The goal is to one day be able to deliver drugs or laser treatments directly to tumors or injuries in the digestive tract.

That's an idea that Dr. Kunal Jajoo believes could change the way colonoscopies are performed.

"It's an amazing advance to be able to steer something that small within the body and really direct it to areas that might need therapy or biopsy or the like," said Dr. Jajoo, Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

The inventor of the capsule says since MRI machines are already in place in hospitals all over the country, once the swimming capsule is produced, it can be easily distributed without a great deal of expense.


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