Autonomous Ingestible Probe for Diagnosis and Therapy of Gastrointestinal Lesions Using Fluorescent Molecules

Current technology for diagnosis and therapy of gastrointestinal lesions has no ability for functional imaging, has limited specificity of tumors, no therapeutic capability, and provides no assessment of treatment efficacy.

The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab has developed a “pill” that, when swallowed, produces functional images of the intestinal track for diagnosis and therapy. This form of functional imaging identifies specific molecular structures in the intestinal wall. Further, it uses fluorescent molecular probes that monitor specific biochemical and physiological processes and pathologies of cells in the interior wall of the intestine. Functional images differ from structural images obtained by using light reflected from the intestinal wall in the information they contain about pathologies not detected by structural imaging. Furthermore, fluorescence imaging allows not only detection of malignant lesions at high contrast and spatial resolution but also assessment at the molecular level of the tumor response to chemotherapy within hours to days of treatment.

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