NinePoint Medical, Inc., an emerging leader in the development of medical devices for in vivo imaging, today announced that data demonstrating positive results related to a new tethered capsule endomicroscopy technology, licensed from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), were published online this week in the journal Nature Medicine. The research, performed at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at MGH, where the technology was developed, shows the pill-sized imaging system creates detailed, microscopic, three-dimensional images of the esophageal wall and is expected to offer several advantages over traditional endoscopy. This tethered capsule endomicroscopy technology has been licensed for commercial development by NinePoint Medical, as part of its 2010 licensing agreement with MGH, the largest technology IP license in MGH history.
A typical endoscopic examination requires that the patient stay in the endoscopy unit for approximately 90 minutes, and typically requires intravenous sedation. In this study, researchers tested the system in 13 participants without sedation - six of the patients were known to have Barrett's esophagus, a precancerous condition usually caused by chronic exposure to stomach acid, and seven healthy volunteers. According to the study, physicians operating the system were able to image the entire esophagus in less than a minute. In addition, researchers reported that a procedure involving four passes - two down the esophagus and two up - could be completed in around six minutes. This could potentially offer a sedation-less initial imaging exam performed in the office environment by a gastroenterologist or otolaryngologist. According to the Nature Medicine publication, researchers could clearly image subsurface structures not seen with endoscopy, allowing them to distinguish tissue changes that signify disease. Furthermore, the authors reported that study participants who had previously undergone endoscopy indicated they preferred the new procedure.
"We are excited to see the publication of this data from our collaborators at Massachusetts General Hospital that clearly demonstrate the imaging technology can produce valuable images of esophageal tissue," said Charles Carignan, M.D., president and chief executive officer of NinePoint Medical. "We look forward to moving ahead with continued development of this exciting new technology."