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Breakthrough optical technology to assess colon cancer risk, accuracy
Date:10/1/2008

Researchers at NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore) and Northwestern University have discovered that fiber optic technology can for the very first time effectively measure blood levels in the colonic lining (mucosa) in humans, thus having potential applications for analyzing risk of colon cancer.

The study appears in the October 2008 issue of Gastroenterology, the official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute.

The study used fiber optic technology to map microvascular blood content in patients during colonoscopy. The results provide the first indication that the early increase in blood supply (EIBS) is detectable in humans and that a high blood level mirrors proximity to neoplasia (process of tumor formation). The findings also suggest that this technology could be a valuable screening tool for enhancing polyp detection and could lead to improvements in colon cancer prevention.

"Our premise is that since the lining of the large intestine -- rectum and colon -- is contiguous, if you see an abnormality in one part of the colon, then somewhere else in the colon you have a higher likelihood of harboring an adenoma [benign tumor] or carcinoma [malignant tumor]," said Hemant K. Roy, M.D., director of gastroenterology research at NorthShore University HealthSystem and the study's principal clinical researcher. "EIBS strengthens our premise thanks largely to the unique and accurate ability of Four Dimensional Elastic Light Scattering Fingerprinting (4D-ELF)."

This state-of-the-art light probe was developed by Vadim Backman, professor of biomedical engineering at Northwestern University's McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. It utilizes a revolutionary light scattering technology that can detect subtle abnormal changes in cells lining the colon long before those changes can be seen under a microscope, and even before polyps form.

"It's fascinating," said
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Contact: Megan Fellman
fellman@northwestern.edu
847-491-3115
Northwestern University
Source:Eurekalert

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