Gut Microbiota Biopsy Capsule
What health care problem does this device solve?
The evolving field of the microbiome, the microbiome is "the ecological community of commensal, symbiotic and pathogenic microorganisms that literally share our body space". This term was created by Joshua Lederberg to point out the importance of the many microorganisms inhabiting the human body, these microorganism play a crucial role in our health and prevention of disease. Their will become a day when you will go into your primary care doctors office and they will send you to their supporting clinical laboratory to not only leave a clinical specimen (usually blood) but also microbiome specimen samples. Your microbiota are mostly harmless, but many are functionally important to you also, crowding out more harmful microbes, teaching your immune system to recognize enemies, and influencing behavior like your appetite.
Explain how the device works!
The capsule is swallowed by the patient, it then will travel through the digestive system down through gastrointestinal system, at a predetermined location the capsule will open up and collect a sample of the cells (later sorted for microbe cells only) from that specific location. The location is found by two sensor systems, a PH sensor and an external RF tracking system, when the capsule has arrived at the correct location it will open up and take a scraping sample into its collection channels on the wiping arms the capsule then closes. Microbes could also be re-introduced with this device.
Why should the device be commercialized?
At present the only way to get digestive and intestinal microbiome samples is through fecal matter collection or endoscopic scope sample gathering. Fecal samples give only a partial story, the recovered microbes our usually only residual or partial examples of the original microbes, and because of the vast number of species and phenotype important information may be lost. Other important information that cannot be found by fecal sampling is the location and quantity of the specific microbes, this sampling can also be done with endoscopy or a colonoscopy procedure but, not without greater risk.
What inspired you to design this device?
With the great potential for microbiota medicine and the benefits of having good balance of microbiome it will become even more important that we have the tools to monitor and to take advantage of the symbiosis of living with all of these microbiome. Working in the field of drugs and vaccines I have seen where it is not enough just to have a vaccine and hope for the best, we must also give the vaccine or drug the best opportunity to perform.