Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Light-based Device Probes For Early Cancer Signs

Date:
March 10, 2006
Source:
Duke University
Summary:
A novel device that could use light to harmlessly and almost instantly probe for early signs of cancer has been developed by researchers at Duke's Pratt School of Engineering. The device would allow physicians to search for cancer in epithelial cells that line body surfaces, including the skin, lungs and digestive and reproductive tracts, by simply inserting a fiber optic probe.

A novel device that could use light to harmlessly and almost instantly probe for early signs of cancer has been developed by researchers at Duke's Pratt School of Engineering. The device would allow physicians to search for cancer in epithelial cells that line body surfaces, including the skin, lungs and digestive and reproductive tracts, by simply inserting a fiber optic probe.

Related Articles


The team has reported the first clinically practical version of their "angle-resolved low coherence interferometry" (a/LCI) technology designed to diagnose incipient cancer in the esophagus. Adam Wax, professor of biomedical engineering at the Pratt School, and graduate student John Pyhtila, lead author of the study, reported tests of their device in the March 15, 2006, Optics Letters. The work was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

Preliminary results of a further study of the latest a/LCI device in human esophageal tissue look promising, Wax said. The next step will be to test the device in human trials.

In principle, the researchers said their technology could be adapted to detect pre-cancerous cells on the surfaces of any organ, where the disease most often begins.

"The majority of all cancers -- some 80 percent -- start in the epithelium," Wax said. "Fiber-optic probes have the potential to test for early evidence of cancer in seconds, providing biopsy-type information without removing tissue. They could also serve as a guide to biopsy, directing physicians to suspicious sites to increase the likelihood that cancer will be detected." Biopsy surveillance in the esophagus removes tissue at random, he said.

Acid reflux can lead to changes in the esophageal lining as the organ attempts to adapt to acids normally limited to the stomach, a condition called Barrett's esophagus, he explained. The condition raises the risk of esophageal cancer, and patients are generally tested for cancer periodically through random biopsy.

Previous studies by Wax's team used a/LCI to identify pre-cancer in animal tissue. Pre-cancerous cells are characterized by an enlarged nucleus, the structure that houses the cell's genetic material. It is such cellular changes that pathologists rely on to identify cancer in biopsied tissue, Wax said.

The a/LCI device emits light that scatters when it hits the cell nucleus. To enable a/LCI to be used as a diagnostic technology, the researchers developed a model of how light is scattered by the nucleus of healthy cells versus cancerous ones.

"What really sets a/LCI apart is its ability to focus on light scattered from a single cell layer," Wax said.

The device is also fast, he added. While early versions of the technology required up to 30 minutes to scan a 1 millimeter point, further development led to a "Fourier-domain" device (faLCI) that captures the same information in a fraction of a second, Wax said.

The researchers now have devised an endoscopic fiber bundle probe incorporated into the faLCI system. Endoscopes are thin, flexible tools used to examine the inner lining of the esophagus. In laboratory tests, the endoscopic faLCI probe could precisely and accurately determine the size of tiny polystyrene beads in solution, the team found. The beads represented a clinically relevant size range comparable to the dimensions of nuclei found in normal to cancerous tissue.

"The clinical diagnosis of cancer today is a slow process, requiring a physician to remove tissue and send it off to pathology." Wax said. "Furthermore, cancer often isn't identified until a full-blown mass develops.

"In contrast, our device lends itself to almost instant diagnosis of pre-cancer." In the esophagus, the speed of the technology could allow physicians to examine perhaps 100 more tissue sites than biopsy currently allows, an advance that should help to make cancer harder to miss, he said.

Collaborators on the study include Jeffrey Boyer and Kevin Chalut, both at Duke's Pratt School of Engineering.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Duke University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Duke University. "Light-based Device Probes For Early Cancer Signs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 March 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060310134130.htm>.
Duke University. (2006, March 10). Light-based Device Probes For Early Cancer Signs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060310134130.htm
Duke University. "Light-based Device Probes For Early Cancer Signs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060310134130.htm (accessed November 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN Says It Will Scale Up Its Ebola Response

UN Says It Will Scale Up Its Ebola Response

AFP (Nov. 20, 2014) UN Resident Coordinator David McLachlan-Karr and WHO representative in the country Daniel Kertesz updated the media on the UN Ebola response on Wednesday. Duration: 00:51 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Takata Offers "sincerest Condolences" To Victims of Malfunctioning Airbag

Takata Offers "sincerest Condolences" To Victims of Malfunctioning Airbag

Reuters - US Online Video (Nov. 20, 2014) U.S. Congress hears from a victim and company officials as it holds a hearing on the safety of Takata airbags after reports of injuries. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obesity Costs Almost As Much As War And Terrorism

Obesity Costs Almost As Much As War And Terrorism

Newsy (Nov. 20, 2014) The newest estimate of the cost of obesity is pretty jarring — $2 trillion. But how did researchers get to that number? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Calling All Men: Here's Your Chance to Experience Labor Pains

Calling All Men: Here's Your Chance to Experience Labor Pains

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 20, 2014) Chinese hospital offers men a chance to experience the pain of child birth via electric shocks. Sharon Reich reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins