CUHK invention to help treat gastric acid reflux - RTHK
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CUHK invention to help treat gastric acid reflux

2023-03-22 HKT 16:02
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  • CUHK invention to help treat gastric acid reflux
Chinese University researchers say they’ve developed a new, non-invasive way to treat gastric acid reflux, potentially sparing patients the need to undergo surgery or take medicine for life.

A team from the university’s engineering and medical faculties created an electronic stent that can be inserted through the patient’s mouth into the oesophagus. Once in place, the stent generates electric pulses to strengthen the closure of the lower oesophageal sphincter, the valve that connects the oesophagus and the stomach.

One of the team's lead researchers, Professor Tony Chan, said the new device is safer than traditional treatment methods for gastrophageal reflux disease, a condition associated with chronic gastric acid reflux and heartburn.

"It can reduce the potential risk from invasive surgery. It doesn't have any battery inside it, so this will further reduce the size and discomfort to the patients. It will also make them more [accepting] to electronic device implant," he said.

At present, the condition can only be cured by surgery, which puts the patient at risk of infection. Patients can also choose medication, but may have to continue taking it for life.

Chan said the team spent around two years to develop the stents, and they had been proven to work in animal trials involving pigs.

The researchers will now continue work on improving the design for human use, and expect human trials to begin in two to three years.

CUHK invention to help treat gastric acid reflux