When Screening for Esophageal and Gastrointestinal Cancer, Rice University’s Low-Cost Microendoscope Could Reduce Need to Send Biopsies to Pathologists
This low-cost solution opens new doors for low-resource regions and, in many cases, allows operators to rule out malignancy without the need for a pathologist to review biopsies
Rapid development of endoscopic technologies is bringing medical professionals closer to point-of-care pathology than ever before. The goal is to allow physicians to identify diseased or cancerous tissue in situ and reduce or eliminate the need to biopsy tissue for examination by surgical pathologists.
Researchers at Rice University in Houston are developing a high-resolution microendoscope (HRME) that offers the ability to view tissue at a subcellular level. This fiber optic probe would reduce the need to collect the biopsy that is typically sent to anatomic pathologists for analysis.
Measuring 1-mm in diameter, the probe works using the existing accessory channel of the endoscope. Touching it to the surface of the tissue provides real-time in vivo images to the technician at up to 12 frames per second on an accompanying tablet display. Images are enhanced using visual overlays and an algorithm that highlights the nuclei of cells within the field of view. The HRME system is battery powered and fits in a briefcase for easy transport. (more…)