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Increasing Diagnostic Certainty with Optical Biopsies

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Imaging technologies can often play a significant role in the diagnosis and monitoring of disease. Increasing the quality and range of what clinicians can see, could lead to noticeable improvements in detecting diseases and identifying appropriate treatments. Optical biopsy is a promising technology that generates real-time cellular images of tissue within a patient in a minimally invasive manner. 

We spoke to Dr Sacha Loiseau, developer of Cellvizio®, to learn more about optical biopsy and the benefits it can bring to the clinic.

AM: Cellvizio Optical biopsy is a groundbreaking technology in the imaging field. Can you tell us more about this technology and how it works?

SL (Sacha Loiseau): Optical biopsies are generated through a system called Cellvizio and are displayed live as digital microscopic video sequences on a monitor during a patient’s endoscopic evaluation. Cellvizio is the smallest in-vivo microscope in the world, providing physicians with microscopic images of tissue instantaneously and from some of the body’s smallest microstructures, all through a minimally-invasive manner. Cellvizio addresses diagnostic uncertainties by providing valuable clinical information related to the diagnosis of cancer and other diseases.

AM: What led to the development of this technology, and how did your work at NASA help?

SL: Together, with a multi-disciplinary team of the top minds in physics, mathematics, astrophysics and imaging, we worked on some of the most challenging astronomical projects at NASA, including the development of technologies to generate clear images of the faintest objects millions of miles from earth.

AM: What difference can optical biopsy make to clinicians and patients?

SL: During a clinical procedure Cellvizio is the only solution that can magnify tissue microarchitecture up to 1000 times. This provides physicians with immediate visualization of the presence or extent of certain diseases. Our technology when added to standard practice can help reduce the number of unnecessary biopsies or procedures or even surgeries and the number of biopsies needed while increasing diagnostic yield. For patients this means greater diagnostic certainty and reduced unnecessary procedures. Physicians are able to see more to better diagnose and treat patients with the help of technological developments including the stethoscope, microscope, radiograph, and now, adding to this, real-time cellular images of tissue within the patient – the optical biopsy.

AM: Are there any future developments for the technology on the horizon?

SL: Developing our health economic value will be important, in early October we released a first of its kind study demonstrating the economic and clinical advantages of utilizing Cellvizio to improve diagnostic accuracy in pancreatic cysts. We recently received the FDA 510(k) clearance and European CE Mark for the CelioFlex™ UHD Confocal Miniprobes™ for use with Cellvizio in robotic-assisted surgery procedures, the fastest growing segment in surgery. A longer term development for our technology will be to utilize the knowledge gleaned from millions of classified Cellvizio images to help support diagnosis of individual patients using predictive AI technology.

Dr. Loiseau was speaking to Anna MacDonald, Editor for Technology Networks.