Chip-in-a-pill may be approved in 2012

November 10, 2010 by Lin Edwards report
Chip-in-a-pill may be approved in 2012
Image credit: Proteus Biomedical

(PhysOrg.com) -- Giant Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis AG, based in Basel, is developing a pill containing an embedded microchip, which it hopes to submit for regulatory approval in Europe within 18 months. The chip is activated by the stomach acid, and transmits information to a patch attached to the patient's skin, which then sends it on to a doctor via the Internet or a smartphone.

The first application of the chip-in-a-pill -- or as it is officially known, the Ingestible Event Marker (IEM) -- is expected to be for , to help avoid . A common problem that occurs after transplant operations is the dose and timing of taking anti-rejection drugs has to be monitored and frequently adjusted to prevent rejection of the transplanted organ, such as a kidney. The would overcome this problem since it would closely monitor the patients to determine if the drugs are being taken at the right time, and in the correct dosage.

In January this year Novartis spent $24 million on securing access to the ingestible medical microchips technology, which was invented and developed by a privately-owned Californian company, Proteus Biomedical. Licensing the technology puts Novartis ahead of all its competitors. The Proteus microchip is capable of collecting a range of biometric data such as heart rate, body temperature and body movements, which may indicate if drugs are working as intended.

Spokesman Dr. Trevor Mundel, the company’s Global Head of Development, said Novartis does not expect full clinical trials of the "smart pills" will be needed because the microchips will be added to existing drugs, and the company intends to carry out bioequivalence tests instead to show the effects of the pills are unchanged by the addition of a tiny microchip.

Mundel said the regulators had been encouraging and like the concept, but “they want to understand” how patients’ privacy will be protected in a system in which information is transmitted via wireless or Bluetooth technology from inside their bodies, and which could presumably therefore be intercepted by someone other than the doctor for whom it was intended.

Mr Mundel said the first application for the technology would be for anti-rejection drugs for transplant patients, but added he sees "the promise as going much beyond that."

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10 comments

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Simonsez
5 / 5 (3) Nov 10, 2010
Mr Mundel said the first application for the technology would be for anti-rejection drugs for transplant patients, but added he sees "the promise as going much beyond that."

Is that statement supposed to quell my orwellian fears?
JimB135
5 / 5 (6) Nov 10, 2010

Is that statement supposed to quell my orwellian fears?


Simon! Your patch says you didn't take your medicine this morning. Now pipe down and take your pills.
El_Nose
5 / 5 (4) Nov 10, 2010
well if you understand the digestive system then you will realize that this chips is in your body for a very brief period of time -- so have no fear, unless your constipated. :-)
Ravenrant
not rated yet Nov 10, 2010
Sounds good to me as long as it has fiber and no viruses.
Caliban
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 10, 2010
On the face of it, a good idea, but, looking a little deeper, this somewhat disincentivizes the push to develop cloned replacement organs. Chip-in-a-pill reduces the (immediate) need for clone/culture, and keeps the market for medication and constant patient monitoring intact whether transplantation is involved or not. Gotta keep the wheels on the gravy train!!

DamienS
5 / 5 (2) Nov 10, 2010
"they want to understand” how patients’ privacy will be protected in a system in which information is transmitted via wireless or Bluetooth technology from inside their bodies, and which could presumably therefore be intercepted by someone other than the doctor for whom it was intended.

Encryption.
HealingMindN
not rated yet Nov 10, 2010
What about for the next step we inject people with smart dust that can be read from any WiFi or 3G network? The smart dust can also arrange itself on people's skin, so it looks really cool like circuit board patterns.
stealthc
1 / 5 (1) Nov 11, 2010
bad idea, I won't ever get chipped even if it comes in a happy looking pill. LMAO. So then I'm sure they will try sneaking them into my food supply...

You ate Shreddies for breakfast and had a glass of orange juice! Oh by the way you forgot to take your lithium on saturday!

These people for suggesting the idea and insisting that we look away from the obvious privacy concerns really are wolves in sheep's clothing, don't fall for it.
YSLGuru
2 / 5 (2) Nov 12, 2010

Is that statement supposed to quell my orwellian fears?


Excellent Work citizen JimB135. During a routine scan of the forums we came across your above reply to one of non-conformists.

As always the State greatly appreciates your efforts in our ongoing effort to fight hate speech & thought crimes and ensure the safety and mental well-being of the populace. Recent actions on the behalf of so-called libertarians and freedom fighters has set back our cause by several years.

-REMINDER-
All citizens in Zones B1 - B4 regardless of age should report this weekend for their monthly flu vaccinations. Non-compliance with voluntary vaccinations will be swiftly dealt with. We cannot let the independent thinking of a few harm the harmony of the many.

Thank you for your patriotic duty to the state,

Sincerely,

Secretary General
Zone B4 (North American Grid)

“The State is Mother”
“The State is Father”
“The State is Savior”
“Long Live the State”
Inflaton
not rated yet Nov 13, 2010
It's great that this sort of technology is finally becoming reality, but the advent of fully developed organ cloning would get rid of the need for anti rejection drugs entirely.

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