‘Spider pill’ offers new way to scan for diseases including colon cancer

From The Telegraph (U.K.):
A new way to scan for diseases, including cancer of the stomach or colon, using a remote contol ‘spider pill’ camera with moving legs, has been hailed by scientists in Italy.
Experts believe the device, which is swallowed by the patient and controlled by doctors using a wireless connection, could transform the difficult and invasive process of diagnosing serious conditions.

The pill, which contains a tiny camera, is also fitted with tiny legs that can be activated remotely once it is inside the colon or intestine.

The legs protrude outwards and are movable in order to make device to ‘crawl’ inside the patient like a spider. It can be moved back and forth, giving doctors more flexibility during the examination.

Dr Enrico Grasso, a cancer specialist at the University Hospital Tor Vergata in Rome.in Italy, told the BBC the invention could reduce the use of endoscopes that many patients find so uncomfortable that they refuse treatment.

“It could improve adherence to the program,” he said.

Pills containing cameras already exist, but this is believed to be the first that can be controlled after it has been swallowed.

Once the examination has finished, the spider pill exits the body naturally.

It has been successfully tested on pigs but further trials will be needed before it can be cleared for use by doctors.

Elisa Buselli, one of the scientists working on the project that created the spider pill, said: “This should improve the situation not just for the patient but also the doctor.”

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