(08/03/12) - A pill that swims through your body, looking for disease - it wasn't just the subject of an old sci-fi movie - it is becoming a reality. It is a real-life "Fantastic Voyage" that may be coming to a human body near you!
In the classic sci-fi, "Fantastic Voyage," a miniaturized doctor and his team swim through a human body to save a life.
Now, decades later, a new swimming pill could give doctors a new way to save lives, says Noby Hata. "This capsule can stop or move or aim at the disease lesions so you can actually try to cure the lesion."
Hata, the developer of the "Swimming Endoscopic Capsule", says it is designed to be swallowed like a pill. Once it is in the body, 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."
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 track.
This is an idea that Dr. Kunal Jajoo, of Bringham and Women's Hospital, 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."
Hata 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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