June 24, 2008 In order to view cells at a high enough magnification to identify cancerous and pre-cancerous growths, doctors currently have to perform biopsy surgery - the invasive removal of cells so they can be examined in a laboratory. But a new Australian endoscope technology is about to remove the need for a biopsy altogether by offering doctors the ability to examine tissue at single-cell and sub-cellular magnification levels as the camera moves through the body. Optiscan's miniature endomicroscope offers up to 1000x magnification as opposed to the 40x magnification of traditional endoscopes, and will greatly speed up the detection and diagnosis of cancerous cells.
Whatever factors of modern life may be responsible, cancer is becoming more and more prevalent throughout the developed world as time goes on. Early detection is a key to disease management and recovery prospects, so any tool that can help expedite the diagnosis procedure is a great advance indeed - which is why Optiscan's new internal microscope technology made such an impression at a recent international gastroenterology conference run by the USA's Johns' Hopkins Hospital.
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The Optiscan Confocal Endomicroscope combines laser, fibre optic and computer technologies into a tiny camera unit that can move through the body in the same way as a regular endoscope. Its magnification level of up to 1000x allows medical imaging at the cellular and sub-cellular level with the cells still in the body.
Removing the need for cell removal and petri-dish laboratory analysis will greatly speed up the diagnosis process, as well as making it easy for doctors to analyze cell tissues at several different points in the body during an examination. The Optiscan microscope is also, of course, much less invasive a process than a regular biopsy.
Should diseased tissue be discovered during the endoscopy process, the Optiscan technology allows doctors to remove the tissue immediately and with considerably more precision than previous imaging tools.