Dundee-led project to create an ultrasound pill awarded £5m

image captionThe "sonopill" aims to avoid the need for uncomfortable endoscopic exams

A University of Dundee-led project to develop a pill that can carry ultrasound technology has been awarded a £5m grant.

The "sonopill" would relay ultrasound images from inside the body after being swallowed by patients.

It is hoped it could allow gastrointestinal problems to be diagnosed without the need for uncomfortable endoscopic exams.

The funding is from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Researchers have already developed pills that contain tiny cameras.

The "sonopill" aims to push that technology further.

Less discomfort

Prof Sandy Cochran, from the Institute for Medical Science and Technology at the University of Dundee, said: "The principal current method of examining problems within the gastrointestinal tract is endoscopy, which is very uncomfortable and requires a high-level of clinical skill.

"So-called "pillcams" are a developing area of medical technology which have already benefited more than one million patients.

"What we want to do is develop that technology further to include ultrasound, for the first time seeing beyond the surface of the gastrointestinal tract into the tissue itself. This will bring significant diagnostic benefits for patients. We also want to explore treatment with such pills."

The project includes research teams at Heriot Watt University and the University of Glasgow.

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