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Doctors develop a pill-sized 3D camera to help them diagnose cancer

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Tethered pill camera
Tethered pill camera

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital have developed a new pill camera that will help to detect ailments such as Barrett's esophagus by generating 3D renders of internal organs. Current pill cameras are only able to take quick pictures of the esophagus before making their way through the intestines, but a thin wire has been attached to the new camera that allows doctors to move it up and down the body at will. The new device doesn’t just take simple pictures, either. It can also provide a full 3D rendering of the esophagus through optical frequency domain imaging, a technique that uses infrared light as opposed to ultrasound waves.

The new devices should help doctors to avoid typical endoscopies, which normally involve inserting flexible cameras through the throat while the patient is sedated. The less invasive method will open up screenings to a wider range of patients as a result, allowing doctors to check for early signs of cancer as well as other diseases in the esophagus.