Recently, there has been a lot of buzz around the diabetes and weight loss drugs, Ozempic and Wegovy, in the United States. Despite the high cost, these drugs have gained popularity as several American celebrities have certified their effectiveness in providing significant weight loss results with just a few injections.
The principle behind these weight loss drugs is that they mimic the hormones that suppress appetite and induce satiety produced in the small intestine, helping patients lose weight.
Researchers at New York University are currently investigating the creation of an electronic pill that stimulates hormone production in the body using the same principle, thereby increasing appetite. The mechanism behind the pill could be revolutionary, providing assistance to patients suffering from cancer or eating disorders.
The inventor of this electronic pill, Professor Kalil Ramadan at New York University, revealed in an interview with US media outlet Insider that “animal (pig) experiments have already been completed, and with FDA approval, we will be able to conduct clinical trials on humans within the next 5 years”. He emphasized that this is a new concept for treating diseases, as the pill stimulates hormones that the body already produces, without requiring medication or surgery.
The pill currently under development takes the form of an electronic coil that only delivers an electronic stimulus when it comes into contact with the stomach’s gastric juices. It is designed to pop out when it comes into contact with the juices, enclosed in a specially coated casing. After taking the pill, the patient will feel hungry within 20-30 minutes as the pill stimulates the hormone ghrelin.
According to Professor Ramadan, “the electronic pill may also stimulate the hormone that suppresses appetite, if it works in reverse,” and he believes that “stimulating the nerves in the lower chest where the esophagus and stomach meet can create an electric pill that can compete with Ozempic.” Currently, surgeries that stimulate the nerves of the stomach to reduce hunger signals exist.
However, some experts suggest that the electronic pill faces several obstacles before it can be made available to the general public. One of the main challenges is to ensure that all electric stimuli to the stomach and esophagus are precisely targeted. Additionally, the hormones in the intestines are highly sensitive, and too much stimulation could lead to vomiting or explosive diarrhea.
Furthermore, the marketability of the electronic pill remains in question. As the pill cannot be biodegraded and needs to be recycled, it needs to be excreted through the feces. The ability to extract the electric pill from the toilet and cleanse it completely is crucial, and the entire process may cause disgust for consumers.