A “Fantastic Voyage” Through the Body — with Precision Control

Capsular endoscopy of the GI tract has its advantages, but since the swallowed capsule moves randomly through the intestines, there’s absolutely no control of where the eye of the device is pointing at. Now researchers from Tel Aviv University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital are using a 3T MRI machine to both power and propel a new capsule they invented. The tail of the device that provides the motive force is made of copper and a flexible polymer.

So far the technology has been tested in a water tank and the researchers believe the power produced is sufficient to navigate the capsule inside the stomach.  This technology is reminiscent of the magnetically guided capsule project between Siemens and Olympus (see flashbacks below), but that one was different in that the capsule doesn’t use a propeller of any sort but is directly moved around by the magnetic field.

We have found that an approximately 20 mm long, 5 mm wide swimming tail is capable of producing 0.21 mN propulsive force in water when driven by a 20 Hz signal providing 0.85 mW power and the tail located within the homogeneous field of a 3 T MRI scanner. We also analyze the parallel operation of the swimming mechanism and the scanner imaging. We characterize the size of artifacts caused by the propulsion system. We show that while the magnetic micro swimmer is propelling the capsule endoscope, the operator can locate the capsule on the image of an interventional scene without being obscured by significant artifacts. Although this swimming method does not scale down favorably, the high magnetic field of the MRI allows self propulsion speed on the order of several millimeter per second and can propel an endoscopic capsule in the stomach.TAU-capsule

Endoscopes — small cameras or optic fibres that are usually attached to flexible tubing designed to investigate the interior of the body — can be dangerously invasive. Procedures often require sedative medications and some recovery time.

According to Dr. Gabor Kosa of TAU’sSchool of Mechanical Engineering, the project is inspired by an endoscopic capsule designed for use in the small intestine. But unlike the existing capsule, which travels at random and snaps pictures every half second to give doctors an overall view of the intestines, the new “wireless” capsules will use the magnetic field of a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine and electronic signals manipulated by those operating the capsule to forge a more precise and deliberate path.

It’s a less invasive and more accurate way for doctors to get an important look at the digestive tract, where difficult-to-diagnose tumors or wounds may be hidden, or allow for treatments such as biopsies or local drug delivery. The technology, which was recently reported in Biomedical Microdevices, was developed in collaboration with Peter Jakab, an engineer from the Surgical Planning Laboratory at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, affiliated with Harvard Medical School.

Source:http://medgadget.com/2011/12/swallowable-endoscope-capsule-guided-by-mri.html,http://www.aftau.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=15697

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