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Smart capsule to diagnose GI diseases

If you've ever struggled with reflux or a gastrointestinal (GI) disease, you'll know it's difficult to diagnose definitively, as symptoms are often vague and variable.

Add to this, the currently available diagnostics require highly skilled interpretation and high set-up cost, resulting in increased rates of morbidity in low resource regions.

What's often referred to as reflux, (GERD - Gastroesophageal reflux disease) alone affects an estimated 1.2 billion people globally, with prevalence growing in all regions of the world and effective diagnosis successful in less than 2% of cases.

In this context, we are excited to be part of a newly formed global consortium, the eCAP Project, to research, design, and develop a smart capsule to improve GI disease diagnostics and management for patients and doctors worldwide.

๐Ÿ‘‰ a smart capsule
๐Ÿ‘‰ implantable
๐Ÿ‘‰ multi-sensing capacity
๐Ÿ‘‰ physiology monitoring over time
๐Ÿ‘‰ interpretation aided by Artificial Intelligence
๐Ÿ‘‰ to work with generally available smartphone app
๐Ÿ‘‰ e-health platform enabling integration of patient records
๐Ÿ‘‰ recipient of a โ‚ฌ4.7 million grant from the European Unionโ€™s research and innovation programme Horizon Europe, running over four years
๐Ÿ‘‰ consortium consists of 10 partners from research organisations and industry across Europe and Kenya

The eCAP solution combines a smart capsule with an e-health platform to enable dissemination of advanced GI disease diagnostics to patients and doctors worldwide, including low resource environments.

The project team will develop a modular and implantable capsule with multi-sensing capacity to enable GI physiology monitoring. The capsule will remain in place, for a controlled time period, leveraging the minimally invasive surgical approach of flexible endoscopy.

"The team at The Imagination Factory is very excited to be part of this project and to be leading the Human Centred Design research across UK, Europe, Kenya, Ukraine and USA. We will be using this research to ensure we help our partners deliver the best design for the in the e-Capsule device and endoscopic implantation equipment. A key deliverable is to bring this diagnosis to regions that currently have no way of diagnosing GERD and limited access to healthcare providers." 

Roger Gray, Design Director, The Imagination Factory

eCAP will use a readily available smartphone platform, together with cloud computing technology and apps, to capture and evaluate longitudinal physiological data collected by the capsule; the digital platform is designed to improve the accuracy and clinical usefulness of standard test data by incorporating patient reported outcome measures.

The clinician will be able to personalise the test for the patient and receive accurate and meaningful results from this multi-stream data input with interpretation aided by Artificial Intelligence. Patient-empowered disease management will be supported by accurate interpretation of the data by physicians, aided by Artificial Intelligence.

โ€œMore accurate, cost-effective, patient-friendly testing for acid reflux is an increasingly urgent need today that the current solutions out on the market do not meet. I think the exciting thing is that this particular group of partners is uniquely suited to getting together to solve the problem of GI diseases affecting people worldwide.โ€œ 

Lee Swanstrรถm, Project Coordinator from Image-Guided Surgery of Strasbourg

Clinical Trials

Clinical evaluation with health-economics analysis will be conducted in France, Ukraine and Kenya, and a specific education program will be developed to train practitioners to use the novel technology.

The Consortium

1The project is led by the Institute of Image-Guided Surgery of Strasbourg (FR).

Technical solutions will be developed by Tyndall National Institute (IE), Sentron Europe BV (NL), Integer (IE) and Enterasense (IE), based on the user design input from The Imagination Factory (UK). Clinical studies in Kenya and Ukraine will be conducted by Operating Theatre Practitioners Association of Kenya (OTPAK, KE) and a gastroenterology and endoscopy clinic in Kyiv โ€“ Olymed (UA), which continues to be actively involved in the project, despite the devastating hurdles they are undergoing today.

Health economic analysis will be undertaken by Betthera (CZ) and project management and dissemination activities by AMIRES, The Business Innovation Management Institute (CZ).

The Grant

2The eCAP project has received funding from European Unionโ€™s Horizon Europe programme. Views and opinions expressed here are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the Health and Digital Executive Agency. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.


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