New gastrointestinal (GI) tract endoscope for early cancer detection

Project Lead: Dr. Haishan Zeng

The probability of surviving gastrointestinal (GI) cancers can be improved significantly if it is diagnosed early. However, fewer than half of new cases in Canada are identified at the earliest most curable stages. In current clinical practice, the detection of GI cancer is performed using white light endoscopy and clinical decisions are made from biopsies obtained from areas with abnormal morphological or colour appearance.

Early cancerous lesions have subtle changes in colour and morphology, and can be hard to identify via white light endoscopy. Oversampling is often required to minimize false negative results but has significant adverse effects on patients. Therefore, tremendous potential exists for in vivo non-invasive diagnosis for improving early cancer detection.
Dr. Haishan Zeng and his team are building a new GI tract endoscope that will produce real-time histology-like and 3D images of tissues with cellular resolution using confocal optics. The new endoscope will assist clinicians to better identify the locations of lesions and reduce the number of biopsies. Cost saving to the health system will mainly come from the reduced number of biopsies. The new device will have extraordinary patient impact by detecting GI cancers early.

The proposed translational research is interdisciplinary in nature and has a patent pending. The commercialization potential will be obvious once the probe can be proven useful in the clinic.

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