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Hen-Wei Huang, PhD



Job Title

Associate Scientist

Academic Rank





Hen-Wei Huang

Principal Investigator

Giovanni Traverso

Research Category: Allergy, Immunology, Inflammation, and Infectious Diseases


In Situ Detection of Gastrointestinal Inflammatory Biomarkers via Ingestible Gas Sensors

Scientific Abstract

More than two decades ago it was discovered that nitric oxide (NO) concentrations in gas aspirated during colonoscopy were more than 100 times higher in patients diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (UC) than controls. While
this provides a diagnostic opportunity, it has not been possible to perform in situ detection of NO in a non-invasive manner. This work presents the feasibility of in situ detection of NO by means of a capsule-like electrochemical gas sensor. Our in vivo results in a large animal model of intestinal inflammation show that NO can be directly detected at the site of inflammation and that it quickly dissipates to surrounding tissues, demonstrating the importance of in situ detection.

Lay Abstract

We developed a capsule-like gas sensor that can be easily swallowed to travel through the entire gastrointestinal tract like the capsule endoscopy. Unlike the capsule endoscopy taking images, the capsule-like gas sensor can detect the biomarkers that are associated with inflammation at inflammatory sites directly.

Clinical Implications

The gas sensor can be used together with the capsule endoscopy to facilitate the diagnosis of Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis.