The small, pill-shaped IntelliCap wireless medical device is opening up research opportunities into the impact of the small intestine microbiota on health and disease. For the first time, scientists have been able to obtain and analyse samples of the small intestine’s microbiome in a non-invasive way.
This is likely to lead to a greater understanding of the significant role the gut microbiome plays in health and disease; and with it, opportunities for new therapeutics.
The IntelliCap CR system, which already had CE Marking for drug delivery and the real-time measurement of temperature and pH on the gastrointestinal tract, has recently been further approved for the aspiration of fluids. Measuring just 11 x 26 mm, IntelliCap was developed by Medimetrics, a company pioneered by Philips, with offices in Germany, the Netherlands and the USA. The IntelliCap system is already being successfully used by the pharmaceutical industry for the targeted and controlled delivery of drugs into the gut.
“Understanding the environment of the small bowel is very difficult. For the first time, this device presents scientists with a convenient and non-invasive method of exploration,” said Jeff Shimizu, Chief Technical Officer, Medimetrics. “By extending its use, the IntelliCap technology has the potential to play an even more powerful role in the development of therapeutic products.”
To demonstrate the capabilities of the IntelliCap fluid sampling technology, Medimetrics joined forces with NIZO food research and Wageningen University, also in the Netherlands. They carried out a pioneering research study which used the IntelliCap system to take samples from the small intestine. These were then sequenced and analyzed by scientists both at NIZO and the university. Preliminary results are encouraging and their detailed findings are expected to be published in a prestigious journal later in 2015.
Dr Michiel Kleerebezem, from the university’s Host Microbe Interactomics Group, is one of the leaders in this study. He commented: “The role of the small intestine in human health is potentially of greater importance than that of the large bowel. However, using traditional methods, it has been very complicated to take samples, and this has held back research.
“We wanted to evaluate the IntelliCap performance in being able to gather gut samples and retain sample integrity so that we could study bacterial communities in the small intestine - which had previously been hard to access. While we cannot yet discuss our findings in detail, early indications are that the capsule presents a breakthrough for scientific research in the small intestine. “
And Dr Kleerebezem added: “Sampling using the IntelliCap enabled us to obtain reliable and well preserved small intestinal samples that more clearly and with higher resolution reflected the impact of treatment, as compared to faecal samples.”
The small intestine is critical to health. It is where the absorption of approximately 90% of nutrients takes place and where important signals are generated to control our metabolism and immune function. Mounting scientific evidence shows that an imbalance in the ‘microbiota’ in our gut is linked to a variety of diseases, including metabolic and immune disorders such as obesity, diabetes and inflammatory diseases. However, most studies have targeted the microbial communities in faecal material, and have not adequately addressed the possible role of the small intestine microbiota.
The project has been financially supported by the European Regional Development Fund as part of the OP-Zuid programme, and by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation.
IntelliCap is a registered trademark of Medimetrics Personalized Drug Delivery B.V. in the United States and Europe.
About Medimetrics Personalized Drug Delivery B.V.
Medimetrics is the pioneer and global leader in electronic oral drug delivery and is committed to innovating healthcare. Medimetrics has created the IntelliCap® system for precise delivery of drugs in the gastro-intestinal tract and the measurement and reporting of conditions in the body. It is the world’s first and only smart oral electronic drug delivery system. Available as an R&D service the IntelliCap® system is a highly effective tool for targeted, modified release formulation development. Available by license and co-development, the IntelliCap® technology is applied to create revolutionary new smart pharmaceutical products. Medimetrics headquarters are in Heilbronn, Germany, with research labs, service centres and administrative offices in Europe (Eindhoven, The Netherlands) and the USA (Briarcliff Manor, New York).
About Wageningen University and Research Centre
Wageningen UR is one of the world’s leading research centers into the 'exploration of the potential of nature to improve the quality of life'. As a research institution it focuses on the domain ‘healthy food and living conditions’. WUR not only develops top-quality expertise, it also helps translate this knowledge into practice worldwide. This is why WUR carries out fundamental research all over the world. WUR also trains professionals who, in the near and distant future, will discover breakthroughs in science and technology.
About NIZO food research
Good food needs good science. NIZO food research is one of world's leading center’s in contract research and food innovations based on proteins, bacteria and processing. Its passion is to help make better foods and to be an incubator of food innovation. NIZO food research is an independent company and one of the most advanced contract research centers in the world. From analysis, contract research, production in our food grade pilot plant, to the development of concepts. In the last 67 years, many food companies in more than 30 countries co-created with NIZO and gained in intellectual property, product quality, sustainability, cost effectiveness and speed to market of their products.