Optical biopsy system provides early cancer detection

San Diego, CA—A reliable identification of precancerous lesions is one the most important challenges in GI endoscopy because early detection and treatment are the most effective measures to prevent advanced cancer. In Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) patients the differentiation between pre-malignant and inflammatory lesions can be difficult. Until recently there was no way to quickly test cells to see if they were normal, pre-cancerous or cancerous.

San Diego, CA—A reliable identification of precancerous lesions is one the most important challenges in GI endoscopy because early detection and treatment are the most effective measures to prevent advanced cancer. In Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) patients the differentiation between pre-malignant and inflammatory lesions can be difficult. Until recently there was no way to quickly test cells to see if they were normal, pre-cancerous, or cancerous. SpectraScience has developed the WavSTAT optical biopsy system for early cancer detection. The WavSTAT was just selected for use by Professor Andreas Stallmach, Department of Internal Medicine II, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Infectious Disease. The WavSTAT will be used at Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, Germany, for early detection of pre-cancers and cancers during colonoscopy procedures.

Professor Stallmach said, “Colon cancer is one of the most frequent malignant disorders these days, and, especially in patients with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, surveillance strategies are of major importance. A reliable identification of precancerous lesions is one the most important challenges in GI endoscopy because early detection and treatment are the most effective measures to prevent advanced cancer. In IBD patients the differentiation between pre-malignant and inflammatory lesions can be difficult; therefore, we are looking forward to using the WavSTAT optical biopsy system in these patients.”

SpectraScience VP for Sales and Marketing, Michel Vaudry, said, “The WavSTAT can provide physicians, who otherwise rely on the naked eye and experience, with a much more objective cancer screening tool that will increase their success rate, saving more lives and reducing healthcare costs overall. When the WavSTAT is used in the colon for IBD (which includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis), the number of physical biopsies can be reduced from about 60 to only a few, thus reducing risk and procedure time from more than an hour to 20 minutes with less sedation and a better chance to find neoplasia. At the same time, the number of optical biopsies performed to find pre-cancerous tissues is for the most part unlimited. More than a million people have IBD in the EU.”

Using the principle of Laser Induced Fluorescence (LIF), diseased or cancerous tissue fluoresces differently compared to normal healthy tissue. Diseased tissue has reduced fluorophors which, when analyzed by a specialized detector, can indicate with high sensitivity that the cells are becoming dysplastic, a precursor to cancer. During colonoscopy, a small fiber-optic probe is directed by the clinician to touch the suspicious tissue. Depressing a foot switch directs low powered, safe laser light into the tissue. The laser shuts off and the tissue fluorescence light is directed back up the same fiber optic probe to a specialized detector. The system’s computer analyzes the detector’s output and, within seconds, displays a red or green light on a screen. A green light means the tissue is “normal” with 96% sensitivity. Where a flat polyp is suspect, multiple uses of the optical fiber and the red light may assist the clinician in determining the margin of the “suspect” tissue and remove all of it in the same procedure.

SpectraScience holds approximately 60 patents worldwide that have been issued or are pending on its WavSTAT® Optical Biopsy System and LUMA® Cervical Imaging Systems. These devices are used to quickly assess tissue to help determine if it is normal, pre-cancerous, or cancerous. The WavSTAT and LUMA Systems are approved by the FDA for detecting pre-cancerous and cancerous tissue in the colon and cervix, respectively. An evaluation of the WavSTAT for detection of pre-cancers in the throat (“Barrett’s esophagus”) is currently underway.

More in Fluorescence