Sensor can detect IBD during colonoscopy: 6 key notes

Researchers from Nashville, Tenn.-based Vanderbilt University created an endoscope that uses Raman spectroscopy, a chemical-fingerprinting technique, to detect inflammatory bowel disease in the colon.

Here's what you should know.

1. Comprised of a minimally invasive probe, physicians use the sensor during routine colonoscopies.

2. The probe can detect and differentiate IBD's unique molecular signature.

3. Researchers developed a portable Raman spectroscopy system using a 785 nm diode laser and a fiber-optic probe that can deliver 80 mW to the surface of the colon.

4. Researchers previously used Raman spectroscopy for cancer detection, but modified the system to detect the specific signatures affiliated with inflammation.

5. In a pilot test, the researchers used the device in 15 patients with a Crohn's diagnosis, eight patients with ulcerative colitis and eight controls. The results suggested the device could detect IBD but couldn't differentiate between the subtypes.

When measuring patients with active inflammation, the device detected Crohn's disease with 90 percent sensitivity.

6. The researchers are in the process of developing algorithms to help physicians interpret test results.

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