New endoscope 'could help to attack cancer cells directly'

Engineering

A new type of endoscope is being developed by researchers at the University at Buffalo that could be used to attack cancer cells directly.

The device builds on the traditional imaging applications of the technology - which uses a tube with a tiny light and camera attached to probe and examine internal organs - while adding new functions to facilitate the targeted treatment of cancer.

ā€œUS researchers have developed a new type of endoscope that can be used to combat cancer cells directly, rather than just examining them.ā€œ

It harnesses spatial frequency domain imaging techniques to correct image contrast problems by projecting patterns of light at different frequencies on the cancer cells, while it has also been modified to work in conjunction with a drug delivery system known as nanoballoons.

These liposome structures carry chemotherapy drugs directly to the tumour, thus protecting healthy cells. Upon reaching their destination, the endoscopic light beam can be used to pop the nanoballoons, releasing the drug directly at the tumour site.

Dr Ulas Sunar, a research assistant professor at the University at Buffalo's department of biomedical engineering, said: "We expect doctors in the operating room will greatly benefit from this device."

The system, which will be developed throughout 2015, could be a useful tool in improving the effectiveness of chemotherapy, while helping to alleviate the common and serious side effects it can cause.

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