Healing capsule releases therapeutic gas in the stomach and intestines
Scientists at the Julius Maximilians University in Würzburg (JMU) are currently working on the development of a capsule that can be swallowed and releases a therapeutic gas in the stomach or intestines. For the implementation of their idea, the researchers receive a grant of 500,000 euros from the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs.
With the help of the innovative capsules, the therapeutic gas is to be transported directly to the scene and released there. Diseases in the stomach and intestines could be treated in a targeted manner. The scientists have received funding of half a million euros for the development of the capsule and the implementation of medical innovation in a company.
Carbon monoxide is not only harmful
According to the researchers, the capsules are filled with carbon monoxide, which they can then transport through the body and release again. Although most people think of carbon monoxide as a dangerous gas, which is contained, for example, in engine exhaust gases, this gas occurs naturally in very low concentrations in the human body. Here, among other things, it has anti-inflammatory effects, the scientists explain.
Treating gastrointestinal inflammation with gas?
The anti-inflammatory effect of the gas can also be used for therapeutic purposes. For example, "Inflammation of the intestine can be alleviated by low concentrations of carbon monoxide," explains Professor Lorenz Meinel, holder of the Chair for Pharmaceutical Technology and Biopharmacy at the JMU. In addition, the gas presumably also has a positive effect on a special form of gastric paralysis, which often occurs in diabetics.
Difficult to use gases so far
Since gases evaporate quickly, it is relatively difficult to use them therapeutically as an easy-to-use drug, the experts report. The gas can only be brought to a specific place of action in a very limited way in the body. The development of the capsules should remedy this.
Swallowable capsules transport the active ingredient
Professor Meinel's team is currently working on designing them so that they can be swallowed and only release small amounts of carbon monoxide in the stomach or intestine where they are supposed to work. With the funding, the scientists plan to transfer the project to a start-up company over the next two years, whereby the capsule and active ingredient must first be manufactured in a quality that meets the requirements of the pharmaceutical industry, according to the JMU. (fp)