Ingestible gas sensor to monitor gut microbiome in clinical trials

November 27, 2019 //By Rich Pell
Ingestible gas sensor to monitor gut microbiome in clinical trials
Microbial sciences company Seed Health has announced a research partnership with digital health company Atmo Biosciences to evaluate the impact of probiotics using the first ingestible gas sensor technology.

The partnership will use the technology in clinical trials to profile key gases produced within the gut in real time. The first trial will evaluate the impact of probiotics on the gut microbiome - the microbe population living in the body's digestive tract - after antibiotic use.

"Despite over a decade of human microbiome research, we are still limited by the technologies available to measure and understand real-time activity in the human gut," says Raja Dhir, Seed Health co-founder and co-CEO. "We are inspired by this collaboration with Atmo Biosciences as we pioneer new biomarkers and methods to measure the impact of specific probiotics, while deepening our functional understanding of the gut microbiome. The ability to monitor this environment has tremendous implications for the future of the field."

The lower gut is challenging to reach physically, making it difficult to study clinically. To date, gut microbiome research — and studies on the efficacy of interventions like probiotics - has relied largely on stool analysis.

Other than an invasive tube insertion, says the company, the only way to test for key gases is by breath measurements, which are often inaccurate as gas concentrations in the gut are 5,000-10,000 times higher than the breath. Other diagnostic methods such as aspiration, biopsy, endoscopy, motility pills, and imaging pills are also often highly invasive, costly, or have other clinical limitations.

The Atmo Gas Capsule - as described in an article in Nature Electronics - is the first ingestible sensor technology to track location-specific gases through the human gastrointestinal tract. The 28-mm capsule uses sensors to measure key gases present, including hydrogen and oxygen, and is up to 3,000 times more accurate than breath tests. After the capsule has passed through the gut, it then exits intact within the stool, and is discarded.

Atmo Biosciences CEO, Mal Hebblewhite says, "Working with Seed Health, we can now expand the potential of our technology to understand and


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