Researchers have developed a new kind of endoscope to help early diagnosis of the inflammatory bowel disease.
The international team of researchers led by the University of East Anglia (UEA) have developed a Confocal Laser Endomicroscope (CLE), which has a powerful microscope allowing clinicians to view the bacteria that are believed to causes bowel disease such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
Lead researcher, Prof Alastair Watson of the University of East Anglia (UEA) who worked with other researchers from France and Germany said, "Bacteria within the wall of the gut are already believed to play an important role in the development of inflammatory bowel disease and we now have a powerful new tool for viewing this bacteria during routine colonoscopy."
He further said, the new technology will allow the detection of patients at risk or in the early stages of such diseases. It is believed that bacteria within the mucous membrane of the gut plays a role is causing such diseases. The present treatment method prevents observation of the bacteria's exact location and also of the way in which it interacts with the mucous membrane.
The new endoscope uses a flourescent dye to highlight the bacteria and allows these processes to be observed at a sub-cellular level at the time of colonoscopy. The research was funded by Wellcome Trust.