Philips launches iPill for localized drug delivery

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Philips Research has released the iPill, its next generation camera pill, which can be electronically programmed to control the delivery of medicine according to a pre-defined drug release profile.

The iPill determines its location in the intestinal tract by measuring the local acidity or pH of its environment. Armed with this pH information and data about capsule transit times, the location in the gut can be determined with good accuracy. The iPill releases medicine from its drug reservoir via a microprocessor controlled pump, allowing programmable drug delivery. In addition, the capsule is designed to measure local temperature and report measurements wirelessly to an external receiver unit, according to the company.

Locations where the drug needs to be released could also be determined by medical imaging – for example, endoscopy, MRI or CT scans, Philips said.

In the form of an 11- x 26-mm capsule, the iPill incorporates a microprocessor, battery, pH sensor, temperature sensor, RF wireless transceiver, fluid pump and drug reservoir. It communicates via its wireless transceiver to a control unit outside the body, the company said.