A group of researchers at the university WITH, created a sensor in size and form of a capsule, which are essentially genetically modified "bacteria in chips", which can detect bleeding in the intestine and diagnose various diseases.
An E. coli strain of bacteria has been genetically engineered to react to the presence of a chemical called heme that is found in red blood cells. By detecting the presence of heme, the modified bacteria begin to shine.
After they created the modified bacteria, then the researchers built a capsule to accommodate them, which simultaneously allows body molecules to penetrate it through a membrane. In this way, bacteria can interact with body fluids and in the event of internal bleeding, the presence of heme will result in the emission of light from the bacteria.
A photoelectric tube inside the capsule measures this light and transmits the data wirelessly to a smartphone or computer. Currently, the chip is placed inside an 1,5 inch (3,8 inch) capsule. However, researchers are looking for ways to reduce the size of the sensor.
Their goal is to design a method to store these sensors in a person's digestive system for weeks and to send constant information to allow doctors to monitor the inside of that patient.
In the future, patients will be able to swallow the capsule to detect early signs of cancer instead of having to undergo a colonoscopy. It would also assist in monitoring inaccessible points of the small intestine in people suffering from Crohn's disease or in the study of the balance of microbes in the intestine.