Tiny microscope travels into our innards to speed up diagnoses

April 30th, 2008 - 1:25 pm ICT by admin  

Sydney, April 30 (IANS) Australian scientists have developed a miniature microscope that travels inside the human body in order to detect cancer early, creating a new diagnostic discipline, Endomicroscopy. A training centre has been established at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in US, out of the four worldwide by Marcia Canto, director of gastroenterology, to teach doctors how to use endomicroscopes.

Canto said: “In our trial treatment of Barrett’s Oesophagus (a pre-cancerous condition), we have found the endomicroscope to be highly accurate in detecting the disease, and the other studies show extraordinary consistency with our own.”

“Diagnostically this is almost as good as it gets and this is just the beginning,” said Canto.

The endomicroscope, OptiScan, also gained approval at a meeting of the world’s leading gastroenterologists at International Endomicroscopy 2008, reoports Sciencealert.

The OptiScan is also being hailed as an efficient technology for diagnosing gastrointestinal disease in children where its ability to provide in vivo diagnosis can save children two visits to the surgeon - one for a biopsy and then again later for treatment if required.

Mike Thomson, paediatric gastroenterologist at Sheffield’s Children’s Hospital in Britain, told delegates: “We have now performed many endomicroscope procedures and we have solved cases where diagnosis has beaten us.

“For example one youngster had a persistent case of stomach pain and diarrhoea. The endomicroscope identified a lesion which we were able to map and ablate (remove) in a single procedure without the need for a biopsy.

“The youngster was successfully cured. As a result of this and many other procedures we now believe that endomicroscopy is safe for patients as young as eight months.”

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