In a study to be published in the October issue of Gastroenterology, researchers from NorthShore University Health System and Northwestern University will describe a promising new technique for assessing colon cancer risk.
A fiber optic probe used during colonoscopy maps the microvascular circulation of the mucosal lining by detecting oxygenated (Ohb) and deoxygenated (Dhb) hemoglobin(Hb) via 4D-ELF, which stands for Four Dimensional Elastic Light Scattering Fingerprinting (but you probably guessed that already). A revolutionary new light probe developed by Vadim Backman, professor of biomedical engineering at Northwestern University, uses this light scattering technology to detect subtle abnormalities in cells lining the colon, long before those changes can be seen under a microscope.
Hemant K. Roy, M.D., director of gastroenterology research at NorthShore University Health System and the study’s principal clinical researcher says:
“It’s fascinating, to very precisely know that you’re looking at the most superficial layer of tissue – which is where all polyps and cancer start…We are not determining whether an abnormality is cancer or not cancer…what we are doing is using optical technology to determine if we can assess risk through looking at field carcinogenesis [cancer formation].”
The study found that the total Hb concentration was elevated 75.3% above control levels (comparable region from patients with no adenomas) at the adenoma site and persisted in the uninvolved mucosa (microscopically normal) area. Moreover, tissue sites located within 10 and 30 cm away from an adenoma also manifested a highly statistically significant increase in total Hb, OHb and DHb concentration.
“…(this) has the potential of bringing a suite of technologies that is not meant to replace colonoscopy, but rather to more precisely determine risk and thereby help to individualize recommendations on the timing of colonoscopy for colon cancer screening. This improved efficiency and accuracy may aid in cancer prevention efforts.”
Press release: Breakthrough Optical Technology To Assess Colon Cancer Risk, Accuracy…
NorthShore GI Research…
2006 press release from Northwester University: New alternative to colonoscopy succeeds in clinical trials…