Pill-sized imaging device to save more lives

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CA2OJ0OXCALWWZ5VCAC2OQHICA07SHUMCAHXMM3KCADS2KQ7CA2394FKCACP2LNICA5SIA97CAU37H43CA7CK2SECAGK4113CAKI658KCAA8EZ21CAFJ2SARCAWWI8MJCATFSA91CA05WHBECA4IRPZNCAV90Y6UEarly detection of cancer and more accurate identification of conditions that would most probably lead to cancer have been by far the most important objective of physicians, radiologists and thus researchers all over the world.

So, extensive research, time and energy are always spent on developing better, faster and more accurate imaging devices that can really help save more lives.

That is exactly what researchers at Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have successfully accomplished.

The center’s researchers developed a pill-sized infrared imaging device that has shown great potential in identifying Barrett’s esophagus cellular damage, a pre-cancerous condition caused by chronic exposure to stomach acid.

The imaging device consists of an endomicroscopy capsule that is an imaging system enclosed in a small capsule.

The physician or trained radiologist can control the position of the capsule by manipulating a plastic ball attached to a flexible tether.

The usage of the device does not require patient sedation and has been reported as more comfortable by the patients who have undergone traditional endoscopy as well and also is said to be easy to use by the radiologists operating the device.

The pill-sized device uses Optical Frequency Domain Imaging (OFDI) technology to capture the images, which have been reported to produce much more detailed microscopic images of the esophageal wall.

The device is first swallowed by the patient and then when it reaches the stomach wall is pulled back up by the technician operating the device, capturing images on both journeys down and up.

The study included using the device on thirteen unsedated patients, seven of which turned out healthy, while six presented with Barrett’s esophagus.

The total duration of the procedure was approximately six minutes from the moment the patient swallowed the capsule until the technician pulled it up again using the tether, which is a huge improvement from the 90-minute traditional endoscopy procedure that patients have to go through while being sedated.

The capsule has been reported to have been grasped firmly by the esophagus without compressing the esophageal lining, allowing complete and more detailed microscopic imaging of the entire esophagus wall.

Apparently its small size just added to the comfort of the patient and the ease of its deployment and extraction without compromising the quality and comprehensiveness of the images it captures.

After the research study of the device showed what potential it held in the identification of the disease, NinePoint Medical got wind of the device and struck a deal with Mass Gen to license the technology for further development.

This device, unlike other devices produced by companies like Given Imaging, has more detailed focus, showing greater detail of the surface structure and is deployed and pulled back in a matter of minutes, thus saving time for both the technician and the patient and also making it more comfortable for the patient to sit through the already-alarming procedure.

This device is going to give physicians and radiologists a better chance of identifying Barrett’s condition and thus preventing or even catching esophagus cancer at an earlier stage.

That is why it is important for companies like NinePoint Medical to adopt such important research studies and provide more resources in order to assist the researches in using more advanced technology, improving imaging devices and saving more lives.

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