A research team from Mass General and MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research are working on a new type of polymer gel that could allow swallowed medical devices or capsules to safely act inside the body over the course of days, weeks or even months.
Improving the safety of slow-release medications could open the door for devices that control hunger in patients with obesity, help to diagnose gastrointestinal issues and extend the effects of drugs.
Long-term devices are not currently in wide use because of the potential for causing an intestinal blockage when the device reaches the small intestine.
However, this new gel is designed to break down upon entering the small intestine. Giovanni Traverso, MBBCh, PhD, of the Department of Gastroenterology at Mass General, is co-senior author of the study.