UK obesity rates have continued to rise at an alarming rate, with figures higher than any other developed nation. Strongly associated with obesity is the increased susceptibility to developing type 2 diabetes (T2DM) which currently affects 3.2 million of the UK population. Bariatric surgery – a type of surgery aimed at inducing weight loss – usually by altering the stomach and/or intestines has revolutionised the treatment of these conditions and can lead to a 60% remission in diabetes. However, with demand for this type of surgery outstripping supply, there is a greater need to develop non-surgical alternatives to combat the ever-rising obesity and diabetes epidemic.
What is the EndoBarrier?
One promising alternative comes in the form of an innovative implant: the EndoBarrier, developed by GI Dynamics Inc. This device consists of an impermeable 60cm sleeve, made from a fluoropolymer – a tough and resistant polymer. At one end of the sleeve is a stent anchor allowing the device to affix to the wall of the duodenum. The sleeve then extends 60cm into the small intestine.
How does the EndoBarrier work?
Consequently, digested food passes through the sleeve without being absorbed and bypasses the upper part of the small intestine before coming into contact with pancreatic and bile juices at the other end where it is then absorbed. Cutting out the first part of digestion leads to changes in the metabolism of nutrients and glucose through a variety of mechanisms including:
- modulation of gut hormones
- alterations in the gut bacteria
- disruption of bile flow
Consequently, the patient will begin to feel full quicker due to an increase in satiety hormones which will then decrease the amount they eat. There is also a positive shift in the metabolism of glucose in the body, so more sugar is taken up into cells, and the insulin which a person is naturally producing becomes more effective. (more…)