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New 'video pill' helps to detect throat and gut cancers


Hand on belly isolated on white

Hand on belly isolated on white

Hand on belly isolated on white

Scientists have developed a new type of "video pill" - a swallowable camera that could detect throat and gut cancers more effectively.

Tiny sensing system cameras swallowed by patients have been used in recent years rather than endoscopes as a less intrusive way of gaining images inside the throat and gut.

The cameras rely on a small light source produced by the video pill to illuminate affected areas and produce images

However, researchers from the University of Glasgow have now created a pill that uses fluorescence imaging to identify the rich blood supplies that support cancers and help them to grow.

The fluorescence imaging technique is already an estab- lished diagnostic tool in medicine, but it is known to be expensive and bulky, usually confining it to laboratories.

The university's School of Engineering team has managed to use fluorescence imaging in a small pill form for the first time.

The pill is not yet in clinical use, but developers are keen to expand the systems.

"The system we've developed is small enough and power-efficient enough to image the entire human gastrointestinal tract for up to 14 hours," said research associate Dr Mohammed Al-Rawhani.

"It's a valuable new technique which could help clinicians make fewer false positives and negatives in cancer diagnosis, which could lead to more effective treatment in the future."

The research was published in journal Scientific Reports.