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New high-speed 3-D imaging system holds potential for improved cancer screening
Date:8/1/2011

solution, the novel system promises to enable 3-D microscopic imaging of pre-cancerous changes in the esophagus or colon and the guidance of endoscopic therapies. Esophageal and colon cancer are diagnosed in more than 1.5 million people worldwide each year, according to the American Cancer Society.

"Ultrahigh-speed imaging is important because it enables the acquisition of large three-dimensional volumetric data sets with micron-scale resolution," says Fujimoto, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science and senior author of the paper.

"This new system represents a significant advance in real-time, 3-D endoscopic OCT imaging in that it offers the highest volumetric imaging speed in an endoscopic setting, while maintaining a small probe size and a low, safe drive voltage," says Xingde Li, associate professor at the Whitaker Biomedical Engineering Institute and Department of Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, who is not affiliated with the research team.

In OCT imaging, microscopic-scale structural and pathological features are examined by directing a beam of light on a tissue and measuring the magnitude and echo time-delay of backscattered light. Because the amount of light that can be recaptured and analyzed decreases quickly with depth in tissue due to scattering, the technique can generally only be used to visualize sub-surface features to a depth of 1 to 2 millimeters. "However these depths are comparable to those sampled by pinch biopsies and unlike biopsy, information is available in real time," Fujimoto says. By using miniature fiber optic scanning catheters or probes, either on their own or in combination with standard endoscopes, colonoscopes, or laparoscopes, OCT imaging can be performed inside the body.

In collaboration with clinicians at the VA Boston Healthcare System and Harvard Medical School, the team is investigating endoscopic OCT as a method for guiding excisional biopsythe removal of
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Contact: Angela Stark
astark@osa.org
202-416-1443
Optical Society of America
Source:Eurekalert  

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