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    Probe for rectal and prostate cancers

    Probe for rectal and prostate cancers

    Background and aim

    Conventional imaging to screen for cancer typically uses MRI – a vastly expensive procedure not necessarily available outside main centres, particularly in second and third world countries. We aim to develop a low cost device especially for screening for rectal and prostate cancers, and for monitoring treatment.

    The project

    Led by expert in the field Professor Bayford, we are developing a new probe using Electrical Impedance Tomography (EIT) – a very low cost imaging system that can be used to detect abnormal tissue such as a tumour.

    With EIT, a series of electrodes are placed over the area to be imaged, inducing minute electric currents. The pattern of the currents is then mapped by sophisticated mathematical analysis to reveal any abnormal tissue, such as a tumour. 

    A portable probe based on this principle has been developed for detection of cervical cancer by Zilico Ltd., a small firm in Sheffield. We are adapting this idea to create a small circular inflatable device consisting of a ring of electrodes with an inbuilt camera; this will fit into the anus to detect any overt or underlying rectal cancer growths.

    During development the accuracy of the system will be checked against conventional imaging with MRI. Once developed, the device will be adapted for the detection of prostate cancer.

    Project team

    Professor R. Bayford – Project leader

    Dr A. Tizzard – Technical support

    Research Associate – Testing device in lab and clinic

    Professor A. Demosthenes – Design of electrodes (UCL)

    A.N.Other  Design of hardware (UCL)

    Mr G Buchanan – Provide patients (Imperial)

    Radiologist – Parallel imaging MRI (Imperial normal NHS assessment)

    Zilico Ltd. – Technical support

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