Portable, Battery-Powered Microendoscope Could Eliminate the Need for Biopsies
In a clinical study of patients in the United States and China, researchers found that a low-cost, portable, battery-powered microendoscope developed by Rice University bioengineers could eventually eliminate the need for costly biopsies for many patients undergoing standard endoscopic screening for esophageal cancer. Rice University's high-resolution microendoscope uses a 1-millimeter-wide fiber-optic cable that is attached to the standard endoscope. The cable transmits images to a high-powered fluorescence microscope, and an endoscopist uses a tablet computer to view the microscope's output. The microendoscope provides images with similar resolution to traditional histology and allows endoscopists to see individual cells and cell nuclei in lesions suspected of being cancerous. By providing real-time histological data to endoscopists, the device can help rule out malignancy in cases that would otherwise require a biopsy.