Cancer-imaging video pill provides its own fluorescent light
A team of University of Glasgowresearchers has worked to improve the imaging provided by swallowablecameras used to detect cancers in the throat and gut. The new videopills are able to emit fluorescent light, allowing the researchers tobetter analyze the returned imagery.
Embedding sensor systems into pillssmall enough to swallow is nothing new. Studies were looking into theidea back in 2011, and such a device received FDA approval back in 2014. Now, a University of Glasgow study is looking to improve thetechnology, working to produce a system with the ability to emitfluorescent light.
Current solutions rely on illuminatingpatients' insides with visible light, leaving doctors to use theirown judgement when analyzing what it is they're seeing. Working toimprove the capabilities of the method, the team made use of anadvanced semiconductor single-pixel imaging technique, squeezingflourescent light tech into a tiny pill that's able to stay in thegastrointestinal tract for up to 14 hours.
Using fluorescent light makes spottingcancer much easier, as it's capable of clearly identifying rich bloodsupplies that support tumor growth – features that are easily missedwhen examining a patient using visible light. It could also be usedto track cancer-associated antibodies in patients' systems, furtherimproving detection accuracy.
Early testing has been positive, withthe team confirming that the pill works as intended. Theteam plans to continue development, and will look into integratingadditional technologies to further improve the effectiveness of thedevice.
"There's still some way to go beforeit will be ready for commercial and clinical use, but we're in earlytalks with industry to bring a product to market," said theUniversity of Glasgow's Professor David Cumming. "We're alsointerested in expanding the imaging capabilities of the video pillsystems to new areas such as ultrasound in the near future."
The researchers published a paper ontheir work in the journal Scientific Reports.
Source: University of Glasgow