New imaging tech to improve gastrointestinal cancer detection

New imaging tech to improve gastrointestinal cancer detection

London, Oct 17 (IANS) Researchers from University of Cambridge said they are developing a new imaging technique with the aim of detecting and characterising early cancerous changes in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

The technique involves using a standard endoscopy system with a novel set of camera filters, increasing the number of colours that can be visualised during endoscopy and potentially improving the ability to detect abnormal cells in the lining of the gut.

“In traditional endoscopy, we use white light and detectors that replicate our eyes, which detect light in red, green and blue colour channels. We are now developing an approach called ‘hyperspectral imaging’, which will increase the number of colour channels that can be visualised from three to over 50,” explained Sarah Bohndiek from University of Cambridge.

“Since cell changes associated with the development of cancer lead to colour changes in the tissues, we believe that hyperspectral imaging could help us to improve the specificity of lesion identification because we can use these colours to identify abnormal tissues,” Bohndiek added.

Hyperspectral imaging (HSI) collects and processes information from across the electromagnetic spectrum.

In contrast to the human eye, which sees colour primarily in three bands (red, green and blue), spectral imaging divides the colour spectrum into many more bands and can be extended beyond the visible range of light.

The images obtained by hyperspectral imaging can provide information about the physiology and chemical composition of human tissues, and the technique is emerging as having great potential for non-invasive diagnosis and image-guided surgery.

“Hyperspectral imaging is a powerful tool that can reveal the chemical composition of human tissues and together with different fluorescent dyes, can identify a range of biological processes,” Bohndiek pointed out.

“The technique has many potential applications within cancer diagnostics, with exciting developments already reported in the detection of Barrett’s oesophagus, which is a precancerous condition in some people,” Bohndiek noted.

The technique was presented at UEG Week 2016 in Vienna, Austria.

Affection – what cancer patients need badly post-surgery

London, Oct 17 (IANS) Cancer can wreck a person’s body and that is quite visible but a new study suggests that such patients may also experience loss of emotional support, thereby increasing their risk of suffering from depression and anxiety.

Many bowel cancer patients are experiencing a lack of affection, emotional and practical support after surgery, and these patients lacking emotional support are three times more likely to experience clinical depression, according to the study by the University of Southampton and Macmillan Cancer Support, a Britain-based charity.

Following more than 1,000 people with colorectal cancer from before their surgery until five years afterwards, as part of the Colorectal Wellbeing (CREW) study, the researchers found that people with colorectal cancer saw a reduction in affection, social interaction and practical and emotional support after surgery — and for up to two years afterwards.

“It is so important for people to have the help and support they need to manage the consequences of cancer after being diagnosed and treated. Assessment of people’s needs early on in the recovery process and then at regular intervals would help identify those most in need,” said Professor Claire Foster from University of Southampton.

Those that lacked social support, such as having someone to talk to or help with practical tasks like household chores, were at a greater risk of a poor quality of life, the study found.

For example, at diagnosis, one in 20 (5 per cent) patients said they had little or no affection. Two years after diagnosis, this had almost trebled to one in eight (13 per cent).

Findings are similar for patients missing out on practical help. Two years after diagnosis, the proportion of people who lacked support was more than double that at the point of diagnosis (12 per cent vs five per cent).

The research also showed that the odds of a patient having clinical anxiety or clinical depression are approximately doubled if they live alone compared to those who do not.

“This research shows the heartbreaking reality for thousands of people with cancer who are going through one of the most difficult times with no one to talk to, no one to give them a hug when they’re feeling down, no one to cook them a meal when they’re wiped out from chemotherapy,” Lynda Thomas, Chief Executive at Macmillan Cancer Support, said.

The findings were released at the 18th International Psycho Oncology Society Congress in Dublin, Ireland.

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