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"Swallow-able" Gastrointestinal Sampler

"Swallow-able" Gastrointestinal Sampler

"Swallow-able" Gastrointestinal Sampler

I am just trying to get some ideas on the feasibility of a device that collects stool samples from the small intestine. I was considering a large pill-sized vacuum chamber with a plug that dissolves after a certain amount of time. After the plug dissolves, a bit of fluid from the surrounding area is sucked up. The apparatus would be swallowed like a pill, and then would be recovered from the stools. The hope would be to determine the microbial community present in the small intestine. One purpose of the study is to understand how similar are the microbial communities from regular stool samples and from the small intestine.  
I would appreciate criticism of the idea, alternative ideas, and parts that I might use to construct the device.

RE: "Swallow-able" Gastrointestinal Sampler

I think that would work.. No I have no interest in trying it!!

There are various methods used to administer drugs.  Various drugs are better absorbed in different location of the GI tract.  Someone has probably already figured this out.  You could just modify it to fail some part of the "pill" at that location.  I'd search around for how they are doing it now.

Perhaps turn to electronics too. Timed opening.  Or thermal opening? Or proximity opening? Or commanded opening.  The electronics could aid in recovery too.

Keith Cress
kcress - http://www.flaminsystems.com

RE: "Swallow-able" Gastrointestinal Sampler

Wouldn't you need the capsule to re-seal itself after taking in the sample but before reaching the position of regular stool samples?

If it has to re-close I think a mechanism may be your best bet rather than a dissolving membrane.  Heck, you could have the thing be magnetic and hit it with a pulse of energy to actuate it.  I saw an article about something vaguely similar pretty recently:
(not this article but same case)

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