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3D Imaging Could Improve Colorectal Cancer Screening

New technology developed at MIT and Harvard (August 8)

A new endoscopy technology called photometric stereo endoscopy (PSE), which can capture the topography of the colon surface to create a three-dimensional (3D) image, could offer a new way to screen for precancerous lesions of the colon, according to an article published in the Journal of Biomedical Optics.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Medical School developed the technology to improve on the standard 2D imaging of traditional endoscopies, which can sometimes miss or incorrectly classify certain lesions.

The new technique creates both a 3D image and the standard 2D imaging, providing more information for a clinician to make a better diagnosis.

The authors created a bench-top prototype PSE system and a modified commercial endoscope to create multiple light sources to capture images, and created software to construct a 3D image of the surface of the colon. They found that at least three light sources are needed for a more accurate spatial representation of the surfaces in the colon.

The team is now working on additional software that could automate the process of finding lesions from the generated 3D images. The new system will be tested in a clinical trial conducted at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and at a hospital in Madrid, Spain.

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 142,000 new cases of colorectal cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2013, and more than 50,000 people will die from the disease.

Sources: Cancer Network; August 8, 2013; and JBO; July 17, 2013.

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