Navigation Links
Light can detect pre-cancerous colon cells

DURHAM, N.C. After demonstrating that light accurately detected pre-cancerous cells in the lining of the esophagus, Duke University bioengineers turned their technology to the colon and have achieved similar results in a series of preliminary experiments.

This technology could be a non-invasive way for physicians to detect abnormal cells, or dysplasia, which have the potential of turning cancerous. These cells are in the epithelium, or lining, of various tissues, including the esophagus and colon.

Current biopsy techniques require physicians to take many random tissue samples, and for some disorders of the colon, these procedures can be disfiguring and life-changing. Instead of taking tissue samples, the new system would aim short bursts of light from the tip of an endoscope at locations suspected of having disease.

"When light is directed at these tissues, it scatters," said Adam Wax, Theodroe Kennedy associate professor of biomedical engineering at Duke's Pratt School of Engineering, who developed the device. The results of the Duke team's preliminary experiments were reported online in the Journal of Biomedical Optics. "We can collect and analyze that scattered light looking for the tell-tale signs of dysplasia. Significantly, the technique is noninvasive so no tissue is taken and no dyes or contrast agents are needed."

In particular, they are trying to spot characteristic changes within the cells of the epithelium. In the case of pre-cancerous cells, the nuclei are misshapen and larger than normal cells, and they scatter light in their own unique way.

"The important thing for clinicians is being able to detect these changes in the nuclei in cells just below the surface, which might not be detected by just looking at the lining of the colon through an endoscope alone," Wax said.

The technology that Wax and his team developed for cancer detection is known as angle-resolved low coherence interferometry (a/LCI). In this process, light is shined into a cell and sensors capture and analyze the light as it is reflected back. The technique separates the unique patterns of the nucleus from the other parts of the cell and provides representations of its changes in shape .

"This approach could be the future of diagnosing dysplasia of the colon," said Dr. Christopher Mantyh, colorectal surgeon at Duke University Medical Center and member of the research team. "The old-fashioned techniques we use haven't changed in years. This could be a real game-changer in how we detect, characterize and even treat precancerous or cancerous lesions. For some gastrointestinal biopsies, the procedure itself has inherent risks such as bleeding or perforation, so a non-invasive technique could greatly improve a patient's quality of life."

In their experiments, the Duke team used the device on samples of colon removed from 27 patients suspected have having colon cancer. The researchers then compared the results obtained from their device to the actual findings made by pathologists, and found that the overall accuracy of the device was 85 percent. Interestingly, the accuracy of the same technology was 86 percent when used during a recent clinical trial involving patients suspected of having Barrett's esophagus, a precursor to esophageal cancer.

Mantyh said he believes the new approach could be especially useful for people with inflammatory bowel disease, since they tend to have a higher incidence of dysplasia in the colon.

Since approximately 85 percent of all cancers begin within the layers of the epithelium in various parts of the body, Wax believes that the new system could also work in such cancers as those of the trachea, cervix or bladder.


Contact: Richard Merritt
Duke University

Related biology news :

1. October 2008 GEOLOGY and GSA TODAY media highlights
2. Agricultural research highlighted in Houston
3. Atomic-resolution views suggest function of enzyme that regulates light-detecting signals in eye
4. Can genetic information be controlled by light?
5. AGU journal highlights -- Oct. 16, 2008
6. Scripps research team sheds light on immune system suppression
7. Study sheds new light on dolphin coordination during predation
8. Spotlight on cosmetic ingredients conference
9. Polarized light guides cholera-carrying midges that contaminate water supplies
10. Study sheds light on genetic differences that cause a childhood eye disease
11. Hydrogen tank lighter than battery
Post Your Comments:
(Date:3/30/2017)... KONG , March 30, 2017 The ... a system for three-dimensional (3D) fingerprint identification by adopting ground breaking ... into a new realm of speed and accuracy for use in ... at an affordable cost. ... ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... the health IT company that operates the largest health ... today announced a Series B investment from BlueCross BlueShield ... investment and acquisition accelerates higi,s strategy to create the ... activities through the collection and workflow integration of ambient ... secures data today on behalf of over 36 million ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... , March 27, 2017  Catholic Health Services ... Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics for achieving Stage ... Model sm . In addition, CHS previously earned ... hospitals using an electronic medical record (EMR). ... high level of EMR usage in an outpatient ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 12, 2017 , ... DuPont Pioneer and recently formed CasZyme, ... into a multiyear collaboration to identify and characterize novel CRISPR-Cas nucleases. The goal ... editing across all applications. , Under the terms of the agreement, Pioneer will ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... 2017 , ... At its national board meeting in North ... the co-founder, CEO and chief research scientist of Minnesota-based Advanced Space Technology and ... ARCS Alumni Hall of Fame . ASTER Labs is a technology development ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... INDIANAPOLIS , Oct. 11, 2017  VMS BioMarketing, a ... of a nationwide oncology Clinical Nurse Educator (CNE) network, which ... growing need for communication among health care professionals to enhance ... physicians, nurses, office staff, and other health care professionals to ... for breast cancer. ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... SAN DIEGO, CALIF. (PRWEB) , ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... website as part of its corporate rebranding initiative announced today. The bold new ... broaden its reach, as the company moves into a significant growth period. , It ...
Breaking Biology Technology: