Hybrid Endoscopy System Could Detect Early Ovarian Cancer


Researchers have developed a hybrid endoscopy system which combines three existing imaging tools into one device. The hope is that this new tool will provide an innovative, minimally invasive approach to diagnosing early-stage ovarian cancer in high-risk women. And in doing so, use of this technique will become preferable to the current standard measure of pre-emptively removing a woman’s ovaries.

Yi Yang and colleagues at the electrical and computer engineering department at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, integrated optical coherence tomography (OCT), ultrasound (US), and photoacoustic imaging (PAI) to create a prototype endoscopy system for ovarian tissue characterisation. The researchers noted that the low survival rate associated with ovarian cancer was predominantly caused by late diagnosis of the disease, with diagnoses ordinarily occuring during Stages III or IV; this low level of early detection can be attributed to a lack of reliable symptoms as well as a lack of effective screening techniques.

With OCT providing high-resolution subsurface imaging, pulse-echo US providing deeper tissue structure imaging, and PAI providing optical absorption contrast, the device correctly identified malignant tumors in both pig and human ovarian tissues.

Although the tissues used in these experiments had been surgically removed, the small (5 mm) diameter of the new imaging device makes possible the concept of inserting it into a small incision so that imaging could be performed in live patients.

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