High-tech pills take a lesson from tortoises

High-tech pills take a lesson from tortoises

It seems like something out of a sci-fi film. Scientists have designed high-tech pills that, once taken, inject medicine into the stomach wall.  What does this mean? Well, for patients with long-term diseases, it means something revolutionary.

Let’s take a look at how these little bots work. The device, now referred to as Soma, was modeled after a tortoise shell. This design was specifically chosen because a tortoise’s shell is what allows it to become upright if in it gets flipped over, which is exactly what Soma does once it reaches the stomach. Once positioned correctly, a post inside of Soma is released, injecting the medicine.

Drugs that would normally be degraded through the tough digestive tract are used alongside Soma to resolve the need for regular drug injections. Soma has been successful in animal testing, and researchers hope to try it on humans in the next three years.

The question on everyone’s mind is: does it hurt? Researchers thought about this, too. Our stomachs do not have pain receptors and the Soma devices are smaller than a pea, so once the capsule is ingested, it’s out of sight and out of mind.

So far, only insulin has been tested within the Soma capsules. The devices are able to deliver the same amount of insulin that would come with a traditional drug injection, when the subject had an empty stomach. Researchers plan to engage with more tests that can tell us the long-term effects of these pills and how they impact the human body.

While this innovation seems like something James Bond might entertain, patients may be taking a step into the high-tech world over the next decade with the help of Soma.

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