Faculty Reza Ghodssi
National Science Foundation
Will enable the development of an ingestible capsule featuring a closed-loop operation capable of sensing inflammation in the GI tract and treating it with medication-laden “microdarts.” A sensor signal will trigger the capsule to release and anchor the microdarts into the mucus that lines the GI. This integrated capsule system will enable effective detection, intervention, and further surveillance of GI pathologies.
Few systems have demonstrated feedback-driven intervention in response to sensor signals. This is because of the challenges inherent in developing robust sensor technologies that can operate in the GI environment and the requirements for compact actuators to apply interventions. The small form factor and power requirements for ingestible systems have amplified these challenges.
In the new research, a feedback-driven system integration will provide a technological platform with three innovations: microdart-loaded thermomechanical spring actuators for targeted GI diagnostics and treatment, systems integration of sensor-enabled GI tract-targeting capsules, and in vitro model design and system validation. The delivery, actuation, and anchoring mechanisms of the capsule systems will be tested in simulated benchtop models, including one made from synthetic tissue that can mimic peristalsis of the GI tract and another simple model that uses animal intestines with tubing to inject solutions for simulating GI secretions.