suffering from a disease !!! had tablets ?? will they have a direct effect on the affected area ??? !!! So  wanna have a tablet which is guided by the doctor untill it reaches the problem area then get an E-pill ..!!! 

Philips Research in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, has developed a prototype for a pill that can be programmed to navigate toward a specific trouble spot in the body and deposit its medicine, radioing dispatches to the doctor as it travels.

The technology, being tested in animals but not yet in humans, may one day be used to treat digestive tract disorders like colitis and Crohn’s disease, said Peter van der Schaar, a gastroenterologist in Heerlen, also in the Netherlands. He worked with Philips in developing the Intelligent Pill device, which Philips calls the iPill for short.

The iPill, a plastic capsule taken with food or water, is intended to travel through the digestive system naturally, typically within about 24 hours, dispensing its medicine at specific locations along the way, van der Schaar said.

Localized drug delivery has advantages: It can mean smaller doses of a drug, as well as fewer problems when the drug travels through the body in the bloodstream. “The drugs might have fewer side effects while having a higher therapeutic value,” he said.

About the size of a plump multivitamin, the iPill is one-third medicine and two-thirds microprocessor, battery, antenna and other miniaturized equipment. The pill can send data to a control station about temperature, for example, and the time that has elapsed since it was swallowed. And the medical staff can then respond.

“If a doctor sees an adverse reaction,” said Steve Klink, a senior communications manager at Philips Research, an arm of Philips Electronics, a signal could be sent “to override the iPill and not distribute any more of the drug.”

Michael Cima , a professor of materials science and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said that electronic systems for localized drug delivery were already being used in clinical testing of pharmaceutical products. For example, a volunteer swallows a pill that is tracked with X-rays and programmed to release its medicine at a specific spot in the gastrointestinal tract.

Basic to the iPill’s successful journey is a sensor within it that detects the acidity, as measured by the pH value, in the gastrointestinal tract. This varies from the high acidity of the stomach to the less acidic intestines to the more acidic colon. “We can program the pill to do a certain mode of action based on this change of pH,” van der Schaar said.

The medication is packed into a reservoir within the pill and can be released all at once or in bursts as it travels along, Klink said. A tiny pump inside the pill releases the drugs. The pump, made up of a motor and piston driven by a screw rod, is commanded by the microprocessor. A silver oxide battery in the pill lasts about two days, twice the time it usually takes for the pill to travel naturally through the body.

The device is being tested at the Philips Research laboratories in Briarcliff Manor, New York, said Jeff Shimizu, a senior scientist at the company. Researchers are using an aquarium as a stand-in for the watery medium of the human body, testing the propagation of the iPill’s radio waves as they make their way from the tank to the receiving station. “It’s working out pretty well,” Shimizu said.

Another company that has developed technology to deliver drugs to specific regions of the gastrointestinal tract is Pharmaceutical Profiles of Ruddington, England.

More than 3,500 capsules packed with drugs, an antenna, electronics, and other materials have been ingested by volunteers using the Pharmaceutical Profiles technology, called Enterion, since 2002, said Dr. Mark Egerton, managing director. Cima said that one day, localized electronic drug delivery might play an important role in patient care.

“You could put a drug to treat colon cancer or irritable bowel syndrome at a select location in the GI tract with great fidelity,” he said. “It could be the next step in therapy.”

This is the upcoming technology would be in existence probably in 3-4 years!!

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                                                              yestina (mgit ece 2nd yr)