Duodenal Condom For Weight Loss?

The remarkable metabolic benefits seen with gastric bypass surgery are believed to be in large part due to the fact that food, which is rerouted as a result of the surgery, no longer comes in contact with the duodenum and early part of the ileum, thereby changing the pattern of incretin secretion.

A new device, designed to mimic this surgery is currently in development. The endoscopically insertable device is called EndoBarrier and is being developed by GI Dynamics, a Lexington, Massachusetts company.

A recent GI Dynamics press release describes the EndoBarrier as follows:

“The EndoBarrier creates a physical barrier between ingested food and the intestinal wall, which physicians believe, may change the metabolic pathway by controlling how food moves through the digestive system. This mechanical bypass of the small intestine is thought to mimic the effects of gastric bypass surgery on a patient’s metabolism, potentially resulting in weight loss and remission of type 2 diabetes. The EndoBarrier can be implanted and removed endoscopically (via the mouth) with relative ease and without the need for surgical intervention or alteration of the patient’s anatomy.”

Regarding preliminary results, GI Dynamics has the following to say:

“To date, more than 100 patients have received the EndoBarrier in clinical trials. In September 2008, GI Dynamics announced data from a multi-center, randomized clinical trial of 37 patients suggesting that the EndoBarrier is well-tolerated with promising short-term weight loss results in morbidly obese patients. These data showed that 26 patients treated with the EndoBarrier lost on average, triple the weight of their diet control group (11 patients). Specifically, at just 12 weeks, the device group lost 13.7 kg (30.2 lbs) versus 4.4kg (9.7 lbs) for the control group. Also notable was evidence that a beneficial effect on type 2 diabetes was observed through lower blood glucose levels and/or a reduction in diabetic medication.”

Overall, certainly a novel idea. Obviously, we need to await the results of the ongoing trials and I can already guess that this is probably not going to work for everyone.

Nevertheless, if it delivers what it promises, certainly an alternative to surgery, especially for individuals with moderate obesity in whom the primary indication is diabetes.

Edmonton, Alberta