Human trials begin for first generation gas sensing capsule

Human trials begin for first generation gas sensing capsule

Clinical trials of an electronic capsule that measures gases in the gut, first developed at RMIT, have begun in Melbourne.

The technology is being commercialised by start-up Atmo Biosciences, following an agreement signed with RMIT last year.

The world-first technology can detect and measure gaseous biomarkers in real time to help improve the diagnosis of gut disorders, which affect one in five people in their lifetime.

Two human trials of the Atmo Gas Capsule are now underway at Monash University and the Alfred Hospital.

The first will investigate motility - the contraction of the muscles that mix and propel contents in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract - and transit time, and compare the capsule’s performance with current standards for measuring transit time in the GI tract.

Over coming months, up to 60 healthy subjects will swallow the disposable electronic capsule, which is the size of a large multivitamin. Data on hydrogen and oxygen gas profiles measured at the source of production is transmitted wirelessly to the cloud for analysis by researchers.

The technology is also being used in another Monash trial with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) patients, who suffer from debilitating symptoms that negatively affect their quality of life.

The capsule, which measures the concentration of gaseous biomarkers continuously as it passes along the gastrointestinal tract, aims to provide clinical insight to enable better targeted treatment and management of IBS.

26 September 2019


Image of the electronic capsule and an electronic data receiving device. The world-first patented technology can detect and measure gaseous biomarkers in real time.

Atmo Biosciences CEO Mal Hebblewhite said the trials were exciting milestones and important early steps in the commercialisation pathway.

“The IBS trial is a great example of how the Atmo Gas Capsule provides researchers with the opportunity to assess the impact of personalized therapies on the gut in real time,” Hebblewhite said.

“It also allows Atmo to collect gut gas profiles for patients with IBS, which can then be compared to those of healthy subjects.”

Atmo Biosciences is an early stage venture of leading health tech and innovation company Planet Innovation, which has developed and manufactured the capsule being used in the trials after spinning the technology out of RMIT.

While these are the first trials using the current Atmo Gas Capsule, a human trial for safety and reliability was previously conducted on 23 volunteers using a prototype manufactured at RMIT. The University received Commonwealth funding and support from Meat and Livestock Australia for this project.

Published results from this trial showed the technology offers a more effective way of measuring microbiome function than existing methods such as breath testing.

The RMIT research team behind the technology was led by Honorary Professor Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh (co-inventor and Atmo lead scientific advisor), Dr Kyle Berean (co-inventor and Atmo Vice-President Technology), Dr Adam Chrimes (Atmo principal engineer) and Nam Ha.


Story: Gosia Kaszubska

26 September 2019


  • Research
  • Nano & Microtechnology
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RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.