The major surgical equipment company wants to develop a new generation of imaging tools that will provide doctors with a better look at the gastrointestinal tract using wireless capsule endoscopy (WCE).
WCE involves placing a camera, computer chip, battery, LED light and a transmitter inside a vitamin pill-sized capsule that travels through a patient’s digestive tract and transmits a video stream to an external recorder, such as a smartphone. The images are then downloaded to a computer for physicians to read.
A research team led by Khan Wahid, U of S professor of electrical and computer engineering, has developed algorithms to much more efficiently capture and store the streamed WCE images. They decreased the workload of the chip to extend the capsule’s battery life while increasing the image quality and frame rate to provide more frequent images.
“The capsule imaging technology developed by Prof. Wahid and his team has the potential to benefit patients because it is safer than surgical approaches of seeing inside the gut, and more comfortable than a physical scoping procedure,” said Johannes Dyring, managing director of Innovation Enterprise, the university’s commercialization unit.
“Our mission is to work together with industry partners like GastroGeniX to turn exciting ideas into impactful real-world solutions like this one.”
The U of S obtained a U.S. patent in 2015 for the technology developed by the university’s researchers, and will receive equity and royalties for use of its intellectual property under the agreement with GastroGeniX.
WCE allows doctors to examine parts of the intestine that couldn’t be accessed previously with traditional white light endoscopy. For patients, swallowing a small capsule is more comfortable than undergoing an endoscopic procedure that passes a flexible tube with a tiny video camera down their throat or through the rectum to detect cancer or cancer precursors in the gastrointestinal tract.
“Research clearly shows that current imaging approaches are insufficient for detection of gastric cancer and cancer risk,” said Larry Gerrans, founder and president of GastroGeniX.
“This technology, our relationship with the scientists at the University of Saskatchewan, and our focus on distinctly new and innovative imaging and treatment systems are key tools in our mission to reduce rates of gastrointestinal cancers globally.”
Mike Humason, the company’s vice-president of clinical affairs and education, said there still are new frontiers to cross in WCE development.
“This technology, coupled with our existing technology development initiatives, opens the door for us to provide physicians and patients a broader array of diagnostic capabilities,” he said.
“GastroGeniX is excited to contribute to the next generation of safe and accurate diagnostic tools for assessing risk and aiding in diagnosis of cancers of the digestive tract.”
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