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Intelligent Capsule to Enable Noninvasive Sampling of Intestinal Microorganisms

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 15 Apr 2013
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Image: The IntelliCap capsule (Photo courtesy of Medimetrics Personalized Drug Delivery BV).
Image: The IntelliCap capsule (Photo courtesy of Medimetrics Personalized Drug Delivery BV).
Two Dutch companies are collaborating on a project that will establish a noninvasive method for studying how foods and food additives affect the microbes that regulate the digestive process in the small intestine.

NIZO Food Research (Ede, [Food Valley], The Netherlands) and Medimetrics (Eindhoven, The Netherlands) are generating new applications for the Medimetrics' IntelliCap system, which is currently used by the pharmaceutical industry for the targeted and controlled delivery of drugs in the human gastrointestinal tract.

The IntelliCap capsule is a tiny, pill-shaped (11 x 26 mm) microelectronic instrument that is swallowed by the test subject. The capsule then passes through the digestive tract by peristalsis. Samples, which are documented by transit time, pH level, and temperature, are collected and held in separate compartments

After being excreted by the test subject, a quantitative and representative map of each sample’s microbiological molecular composition will be generated using methodology developed by NIZO.

“By assessing the way food and probiotics affect microbiota composition inside the small intestine of healthy individuals, we can better decipher the mechanisms which influence gut health, host metabolism, and immunity,” said Dr. Harro Timmerman, a principle researcher at NIZO. “We may even access new markers which enable us to substantiate claims regarding the health properties of certain foods.”

Dr. Christoph Wanke, clinical program leader at Medimetrics, said, “Food scientists wanting to develop functional foods immediately see the potential of the IntelliCap technology in enabling them to apply it as a novel tool to characterize the gut microbiome. In addition, considering its established functionality as a targeted, oral delivery device, we can see further extensions of the technology in relation to health and disease. This offers the potential to explore novel therapeutic approaches which would enable clinicians to control the microbiological composition of the gut in the treatment of diseases like obesity and diabetes.”

Related Links:
NIZO Food Research

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