GE has announced investing into an Israeli company called Check-Cap that’s developing swallowable endoscopic capsules for imaging the insides of the GI tract. Check-Cap seems to be a direct competitor of the better known Given Imaging, also an Israeli firm, that’s been producing its own PillCams for visualizing everything from the esophagus to the small intestine and beyond.
While PillCams use light in the visible spectrum and a traditional image sensor, the Check-Cap delivers low energy X-rays that provide a much different look at the internal anatomy. Because X-rays penetrate through soft material, food intake shouldn’t be a problem for the device, and all the typical preparation for a GI tract analysis may not have to apply.
From the announcement:
The device, which employs low energy X-ray-based technology to safely generate high resolution 3D imagery, may help doctors detect colorectal cancer. No cleansing involved. The capsule continuously transmits information to a wrist-worn data receiver. Patients can go play a round of golf or take a walk while the tiny device does its work. At the end of the journey, the capsule leaves the body the “natural” way.
GE Healthcare and Check-Cap will also design and manufacture miniature cadmium zinc telluride (CZT) diagnostic imaging sensors placed inside each Check-Cap capsule. The sensors will give clinicians a full 360-degree view as the capsule moves through the colon. GE Healthcare has many years of experience in developing CZT-based detectors. Similar technologies have been used in the company’s nuclear medicine and bone densitometry systems.
Check-Cap plans to introduce its capsule in the European Union in late 2013, subject to regulatory approval. The company is also in discussions with the U. S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
GE press release: Fantastic Voyage: GE Invests in Bowel Surfing Capsule that May Help Doctors Detect Colon Cancer
Product page: Check-Cap…