PILLSID (PILl-refiLled Implanted System for Intraperitoneal Delivery) is a new fully implantable robotic device rechargeable through ingestible magnetic pills that carry insulin. Once recharged, the device acts as a programmable microinfusion system for precise intraperitoneal delivery. (1)
The device was developed by a team of Italian researchers.
PILLSID could revolutionize the way patients with type 1 diabetes can access a source of insulin in a completely innovative way.
The study was published in the journal Science Robotics .
PILLSID: this is how it works
Patients affected by with type I diabetes they are unable to produce insulin; therefore, to stay alive, they must exogenously introduce it into their bodies. Currently there are the main options that cannot be called optimal as they cause pain and can sometimes be responsible for infections. In this new study, the researchers created a special type of insulin device that is implantable and can be refilled by ingesting small capsules.
To allow PILLSID to remain stable in the body and to allow for internal recharging, the researchers placed it in an intestinal cavity adjacent to part of the large intestine. They then added magnets and motors to capture a capsule as it moves through the intestine. Once captured, the capsule is automatically rotated by the magnets to align it correctly with the device. Subsequently, a needle exits the device, through the intestine and into the capsule. PILLSID then takes the insulin from the capsule into a storage bank.
Once the capsule is exhausted, the needle retracts and the capsule continues its journey through the intestine until it is naturally expelled. PILLSID releases slowly insulin into the intestinal cavity, allowing it to be absorbed into the bloodstream, where it is used by the body to manage glucose levels. The battery of the device is charged wirelessly through the skin.
The researchers found that the device worked as expected in the test pigs, but they specify that More work is needed to stabilize the system before it can be tested in humans.