VersaPill® - getting the small intestine into focus
Functional dyspepsia is a common disease (with a prevalence of 10–20%). However, corresponding disease findings are only detectable in 20–30% of cases. This leads to unnecessary and repeated diagnostic procedures, creating major costs and tremendous psychological strain for the patients. The upper and lower gastrointestinal tract can be directly investigated, but the small intestine and its functioning are still a “black box.”
To throw light on this hidden area for diagnosis, we are aiming to develop a capsule for directly investigating the central functions of the small intestine. We have therefore pooled expertise from an experienced industrial company (Ovesco Endoscopy AG), an institution for laser technology (Insitut für Lasertechnologie Ulm) and from a university hospital (Würzburg University Hospital). Together, we are hoping to integrate opto-electronic sensors into a capsule capable of detecting malabsorption, chronic inflammatory diseases, and other causes of functional dyspepsia. To achieve these goals, the aim is to measure motility, peristalsis, and permeability in the small intestine. We are also intending to visualize direct mucosal reactions to allergens (e.g., food items) and the extent of possible inflammation.
The VersaPill® is a project funded by German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).