Researchers from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore (NTU Singapore) have finally created the one true magic pill to fight obesity. The team has developed a prototype capsule that inflates in your stomach to make you feel full.
They call it the "EndoPil," and it contains a balloon that self-inflates after it's activated by a handheld magnet. The handheld magnet triggers a reaction between acid and salt, which fills the balloon with carbon dioxide.
The idea is that the pill will be swallowed like any other, however researchers have yet to start clinical trials. For now, it worked on a pig that lost about 3.3 pounds in a week.
Last year, the team also performed a trial with a healthy patient volunteer, however the capsule was inserted with an endoscope. The balloon was successfully inflated within her stomach, and she didn’t experience discomfort or injury from the inflation.
Right now, it is quite a horse pill to swallow, measuring about 3 cm x 1 cm. After it’s triggered, the balloon expands to 120 ml and floats to the top of the stomach, which is more sensitive to fullness. The balloon can then be deflated magnetically to a size small enough to enter the small intestines.
The team hopes to conduct another round of human trials within the year. First they need to make sure that the balloon can be naturally decompressed and expelled by the body, before testing the capsule for its efficacy.
If all goes well, it could one day replace other procedures like lap band surgery, which is invasive and still fails in 1 in 5 patients.