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On-the-Spot Cancer Diagnosis

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Each year, over 12 million new cases of cancer are diagnosed. Patients having to wait on test results can have a scary, nerve-wracking experience. Now doctors can diagnose some illnesses on the spot.

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One day, with just one look in the mirror, Kenny Corbin knew something was very wrong with his body.

"I started turning yellow," Corbin told Ivanhoe. "My eyes were yellow.”

Corbin has an unusual liver disease that puts him at risk for developing cancer. Today, his gastroenterologist is using a new laser endoscope to look inside Corbin's body to find cancer early.

"We want to give him finally a clear diagnosis, which we haven't been able to give him so far,” Michel Kahaleh, M.D., a gastroenterologist at the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville, Va., said.

The scope, called a probe-based confocal laser endomicroscopy (PCLE), is the world’s smallest flexible microscope. It gives a microscopic view of tissues inside the body. Doctors can diagnose cancer cells on the spot without the need for laboratory biopsies.

"We get into the concept of the one stop shop. Patient comes with a questionable diagnosis. We can now with this technique, confirm diagnosis and treat them in the same session,” Dr. Kahaleh explained.

A blue laser shines inside the body and the images magnified, 500 to 1,000 times more than a traditional endoscope picture, are sent back to a computer. The device is so powerful it can help doctors see a single cell, and identify if it is healthy or cancerous.

"This area of the screen contains normal cells which are very clear,” Dr. Kahaleh said. ”On the other side, there is this area of very dark cells, therefore are suspicious to be pre-cancers or cancers."

Corbin learned he is cancer-free for now, but because of his disease, he is still at risk and needs follow up procedures. Cancer is something he'd like to put out of his mind and body.

"I try not to think about it too much, but I know that the possibility is there,” Corbin explained.

New possibilities are now available with on the spot answers. The device can accurately tell the difference between cancerous and pre- cancerous tissues during colonoscopies, upper endoscopies and standard pancreatic and bile duct cancer detection procedures.

The American Physical Society and the Optical Society contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.

Click here to Go Inside This Science or contact:

Abena Foreman-Trice
University of Virginia Health System
Public Affairs
(434) 243-2734

James Riordon, Media Relations
American Physical Society
College Park, MD
(301) 209-3238

Optical Society of America
Washington, DC 20036-1023
(202) 223-8130

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