Rani Robotic Pill Could Replace Injected Medicines

The Rani robotic pill is swallowed like a normal pill and contains tiny needles made of sugar that push into the walls of your intestines and inject medication.

Novartis, the giant Swiss pharmaceutical company, is working with US biotech startup Rani Therapeutics on a robotic pill that could replace medications normally given by injection.

Dubbed the “Rani” capsule, the robotic pill is swallowed like a normal pill, but it contains tiny needles made of sugar that push into the walls of your intestines and inject medication into the bloodstream.

Rani Therapeutics will be conducting tests over the next two years to evaluate the performance of the robotic pill, but the company believe the Rani capsule could be a new treatment method for diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and multiple sclerosis.

It will be a while before the Rani capsule ever comes to market, if ever, but Rani Therapeutics is well backed by the likes of Google’s venture capital unit, among others.

According to Reuters, “delivering large-molecule biologic drugs by mouth has long been a dream for the pharmaceutical industry, since it would increase convenience dramatically. But so far scientists have struggled to make it work, since the medicines are normally destroyed in the stomach.”

The Rani capsule is the latest example of how robotics is changing the healthcare industry.  Italian researchers have designed an octopus-inspired robotic arm that enables surgeons to access confined regions of the human body and carefully manipulate soft organs.

The developers, a team from Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa, Italy, believe the device could reduce the number of instruments used and incisions made during surgery.

And researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Columbia University Medical Center are developing a similar method to help prevent heart attacks using nano-drones. They’ve created nanomedicines that are 1,000 times smaller than the tip of a single strand of human hair to deliver an anti-inflammatory drug and stabilize plaque within your arteries.

Following five weeks of treatment, the researchers say, damage to the arteries was significantly repaired and plaque was stabilized.

About the Author

Steve Crowe · Steve Crowe is managing editor of Robotics Trends. Steve has been writing about technology since 2008. He lives in Belchertown, MA with his wife and daughter.
Contact Steve Crowe: scrowe@ehpub.com  ·  View More by Steve Crowe.


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