Study: Simple Intestinal Probe May Detect Pancreatic Cancer

A new study reveals that by shining a small light within the small intestine, close to the junction with the pancreas, physicians are able to detect pancreatic cancer, according to a news release.


The study was conducted by physicians at Mayo Clinic's campus in Jacksonville, Fla. The light, which is attached to a small probe, is designed to "measures changes in cells and blood vessels in the small intestine produced by a growing cancer in the adjoining pancreas."


The initial study was small, but produced a 100 percent success rate in detecting the cancer. This minimally invasive technique, called polarization gating spectroscopy, will be tested in a larger international clinical trial led by Mayo Clinic researchers.


"No one ever thought you could detect pancreatic cancer in an area that is somewhat remote from the pancreas, but this study suggests it may be possible," said gastroenterologist Michael Wallace, MD, the chairman of the division of gastroenterology at Mayo Clinic in Florida and leader of the study, in the release. "Although results are still preliminary, the concept of detection field effects of nearby cancers holds great promise for possible early detection of pancreatic cancer."


The light probe was developed by collaborators at Northwestern University.


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