Science 360, 915–918 (2018).

The ability to remotely monitor biomolecules in the gut could allow early diagnosis and monitoring of disease. Thus far, attempts to do this with ingestible biosensors composed of engineered organisms have been hampered by the necessity for complex analysis to interpret information from these biosensors.

A group of researchers from Boston developed an ingestible micro-bio-electronic device (IMBED). The device consists of engineered probiotic bacteria with sensor capabilities combined with low-powered microelectronics that allow remote monitoring of biomolecules in the gut. The scientists were able to show that a heme-sensitive version of this IMBED could detect gastrointestinal bleeding in a pig experiment. They were also able to combine this sensor with others, providing groundwork for gastrointestinal biomarker discovery and transformation of disease management using this device.