The autonomous, easy-to-swallow device administers a drug injection inside the intestines
An average person with type 1 diabetes and no insulin pump sticks a needle into their abdomen between 700 and 1,000 times per year. A person with the hormone disorder acromegaly travels to a doctor’s office to receive a painful injection into the muscles of the butt once a month. Someone with multiple sclerosis may inject the disease-slowing interferon beta drug three times per week, varying the injection site among the arms, legs and back.
Medical inventor Mir Imran, holder of more than 400 patents, spent the last seven years working on an alternate way to deliver large drug molecules like these, and his solution—an unusual “robotic” pill—was recently tested in humans.
The RaniPill capsule works like a miniature Rube Goldberg device: Once swallowed, the capsule travels to the intestines where the shell dissolves to mix two chemicals to inflate a balloon to push out a needle to pierce the intestinal wall to deliver a drug into the bloodstream.