MIT and MGH Work on New Medical Devices

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)—both NEC members—are working together to create an ingestible polymer gel that would allow patients to swallow drugs or medical devices.

The gel is intended to help improve gastric-resident devices that treat obesity, monitor a variety of conditions in the GI tract, or release drugs over an extended period of time. The polymer can be folded into a small capsule that expands and can remain in the stomach. In successful testing on pigs, researchers found that the device stayed in the stomach for a week and was then able to safely clear the intestinal tract.

A researcher at MIT’s Koch institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Giovanni Traverso, explained, “One of the issues with any device in the GI tract is that there’s the potential for an obstruction, which is a medical emergency potentially requiring surgical intervention. A material like this represents a real advance because it is both safe and stable in the stomach environment.

The New England Council congratulates MIT and MGH on their research success and wish them luck as the project moves forward.

For more information, see this MIT News post or this Boston Magazine article.

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