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Infra-red light could detect early cancer signs

A new endoscope uses near-infrared light to spot the warning signs of oesophageal cancer

A new endoscope uses near-infrared light to spot the warning signs of oesophageal cancer

Scientists have developed an endoscope that can distinguish between light emitted by healthy and abnormal cells.

The instrument uses near-infrared light to spot early warning signs of oesophageal cancer, the fourth most common cause of cancer death in men in the UK.

Researchers at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute sprayed a dye on oesophageal tissue samples taken from people with Barretts oesophagus, a condition that increases the risk of developing oesophageal cancer. The dye sticks to healthy cells but not pre-cancerous cells.

The use of near-infrared light makes it possible to differentiate between healthy and abnormal cells in a way visible light cannot, the researchers said.

Removing patches of pre-cancerous cells could prevent some cases of oesophageal cancer. But we

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A new endoscope uses near-infrared light to spot the warning signs of oesophageal cancer

Scientists have developed an endoscope that can distinguish between light emitted by healthy and abnormal cells.

Endoscopy
Endoscopy treatment. Photo: Science Photo Library

The instrument uses near-infrared light to spot early warning signs of oesophageal cancer, the fourth most common cause of cancer death in men in the UK.

Researchers at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute sprayed a dye on oesophageal tissue samples taken from people with Barrett’s oesophagus, a condition that increases the risk of developing oesophageal cancer. The dye sticks to healthy cells but not pre-cancerous cells.

The use of near-infrared light makes it possible to differentiate between healthy and abnormal cells in a way visible light cannot, the researchers said. 

‘Removing patches of pre-cancerous cells could prevent some cases of oesophageal cancer. But we need to do some further testing before clinical trials with patients can be set up to see how effective the approach could be at saving lives,' said Dr Sarah Bohndiek of the Cambridge Institute.


Waterhouse DJ et al (2016) Design and validation of a near-infrared fluorescence endoscope for detection of early esophageal malignancy. Journal of Biomedical Optics. doi: 10.1117/1.JBO.21.8.08400

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