Boffins Develop Gastric Band Pill That Inflates In Tummy

Story ByAlex CopeSub EditorJoseph GolderAgencyAsia Wire Report

Video Credit: AsiaWire/NTU Singapore

Patients struggling with their weight can now have a gastric band experience in seconds after scientists developed a pill that inflates in the stomach and stops them feeling hungry.

The pill, named the ‘EndoPil’, was designed by researchers from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and the National University Health System (NUHS) in Singapore.

The pill is designed to be ingested orally with water and is made of a gelatin outer layer which stomach acid then breaks down.

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Pictures Credit: AsiaWire/NTU Singapore

A small magnet in the pill is connected to an inflation valve, and patients can open the valve by using an external magnet, which they place on their stomach.

Once the internal magnet is attracted to the external one, a compartment containing a harmless acid and another containing salt both open, and when the two substances mix they produce carbon dioxide which inflates the mini balloon.

The designers say the balloon will then float up to the top of the patient’s stomach, creating a sense “of fullness”.

The balloon can then be deflated using the magnet to allow it to pass through the small intestine and digested.

The designers say the pill is an easier alternative to gastric balloons, which require surgery to be inserted.

The capsules are designed to remain in the body for a month, in order to stop the patient’s stomach becoming accustomed to its presence and lowering its effectiveness.

The EndoPil is yet to be swallowed tested by humans, but one of the capsules was inserted into a female volunteers stomach using an endoscope in 2018 and successfully inflated. 

The team say the volunteer suffered no injuries and or discomfort after the inflation.

A larger prototype was used on a pig in a clinical study and the pig reportedly lost 1.5 kilograms (3.3 lbs) in a week, while five other control pigs all gained weight.

The product has an American patent and further tests are scheduled.

Alex Cope

I am a senior writer and editor of the Golders news agency specialising in sports news from around the world.

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