"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|