The Network for Translational Research in Optical Imaging

The Network for Translational Research in Optical Imaging (NTROI)

A Miniature Dual-Axes Confocal Microscope for the Early Detection of Cancer in the Esophagus

  Confocal Microendoscopy in the Esophagus
  Dual-Axes Confocal Technology

In this project, an interdisciplinary team of investigators at Stanford University, and partner institutions, is involved in a translational research program that combines imaging-technology development with biomarker discovery for the early detection of cancer in the esophagus. New imaging technologies have often been a key to the early detection and treatment of cancer. Examples include MRI and mammography, which save lives through early detection. In this project, a unique endoscopic imaging tool that performs a noninvasive "optical biopsy" of esophagus tissues is being developed for detecting pre-cancerous conditions in the esophagus. The power of this tool, the miniature dual-axes confocal microscope, is that it images tissue structure with enough clarity and resolution to identify pre-cancerous tissues. This technology is also compatible with the use of optically-labeled biomarkers being developed in our group to specifically tag and identify pre-cancerous tissues. The combination of developing an advanced imaging technology, which greatly improves upon current in vivo imaging techniques, as well as the development of biomarkers specifically formulated for use with this imaging technology to locate pre-cancerous tissues, is an extremely powerful strategy. Studies show that 90% of the cancers in hollow organs originate in the epithelial layers. The technologies being developed here, of "optical biopsy" and biomarker-assisted detection in the esophagus, are widely applicable to the early detection of cancer in all hollow organs such as the lung, colon, stomach, cervix, uterus, etc., and will have great utility for monitoring at-risk patients and assessing outcome.


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