The PillCam Colon Video Capsule
The PillCam Colon Video Capsule Endoscope by the Israeli company Given Imaging Ltd. will spare you that vital colonoscopy you’ve been putting off. Essentially a camera in a pill to photograph your insides, PillCam imaging is considered to be a superior screening system as it was shown to detect polyps not found by colonoscopy. All you have to do is swallow the capsule with water following a 10 hour fast and over the next 10 hours of a normal daily routine, 144,000 color images of your large intestine will be snapped with internal cameras equipped with automatic lighting control at both ends of the PillCam as it navigates your digestive tract. Measuring 11 mm by 31 mm – roughly the size of a large vitamin pill – the PillCam is relatively easy to swallow and passes painlessly through your gastrointestinal system. Color video images are transmitted, via sensors secured to the abdomen, to a donned DataRecorder (and you don’t even have to deal with the embarrassment of handing over your used PillCam!). With the help of special software, data is later downloaded by the physician for analysis of the images.
Specially integrated features of the PillCam Colon make it suitable for the large intestine, which is highly compartmentalized and wider than the small intestine. Though other versions, including the pediatric one, have been approved by the USDA since 2003, this one has been approved in Europe but awaits USDA approval expected at the end of 2006. Other already approved versions include the PillCam SB video capsule to examine the entire small intestine, the PillCam ESO video capsule to examine the esophagus, and the Agile™ patency capsule to verify the free passage of the PillCam capsule in the GI tract. A capsule for visualization of the stomach is under development.
(Photo: Given Imaging)
More on PillCam products is available on the Given Imaging website.
Lucille was trained as a Molecular Biologist, doing laboratory research mainly in the field of RNA processing. Lucille received her Ph.D. at Duke University Medical Center where she conducted research on small nuclear ribonucleoprotein particles (U snRNPs). As a Postdoctoral Researcher in laboratories at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research of MIT and then at the Harvard Medical School, she focused on alternative pre-mRNA splicing in the fruit fly Drosophila, and then on the mRNA capping enzyme of yeast. Lucille has published a number of papers with her colleagues in peer-reviewed journals and has done editing of biotechnology patents and scientific manuscripts.