‘Falloposcopes’ and water treatment technology | media technology
With a major research university in our backyard, a strong military presence, and innovative businesses throughout the metro area, there’s often a plethora of exciting science, medical, and technology news happening in southern Arizona. Here’s a breakdown of the most interesting recent developments.
Fabulous falloposcopes.Researchers at the University of Arizona are using a new imaging device to detect cancer in humans for the first time. Dubbed a “falloposcope”, the tiny device can search inside the fallopian tubes – about 1cm wide – for signs of early-stage ovarian cancer. Although it is always important to detect cancers at an early stage, this is particularly important for ovarian cancer, as more than three quarters of ovarian cancer cases are not detected until the cancer is an advanced stage. As a result, less than half of all women with ovarian cancer survive more than five years after diagnosis.
Biomedical engineering professor Jennifer Barton developed the device over several years, and now assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology John Heusinkveld is using it in a pilot human trial. According to UA, Heusinkveld uses the falloposcope device to image the fallopian tubes of volunteers who already have their tubes removed for reasons other than cancer. This will allow researchers to not only test the effectiveness of the device, but also to begin to establish a baseline range of what “normal” fallopian tubes should look like. So far, the falloposcope has been used on four volunteers. Ultimately, they plan to examine a set of 20 fallopian tubes to better identify what healthy, normal tubes should look like.
“This is the first endoscope that can fit into a fallopian tube and actually see anything below the surface with high resolution,” Heusinkveld said. “We were very pleased with the images the device was able to capture during its first inpatient uses, and we look forward to collecting more data.”
The FDA called the study “not significant risk,” but testing the device on an organ that is about to be removed reduces the risk even further.
“The goal here is to show that we can enter the fallopian tubes — which is not trivial in itself — to take images, assess image quality, and get feedback from doctors,” Barton said. “This study will help establish a baseline of the range of what ‘normal’ looks like.”
In the future, the research team plans to use the device to image the fallopian tubes in patients at high risk for cancer. Although it will likely be several years before the device is approved, manufactured and commercially available by the FDA, this pilot test represents a step forward in a process that has been going on for more than a decade – and could finally forever changing ovarian cancer screening protocols. .
Microbial monitoring. Pennsylvania-based water treatment and technology company SUEZ Water Technologies & Solutions recently purchased Tucson-based Sentinel monitoring systems. With this acquisition, SUEZ has acquired Sentinel’s products that provide “real-time solutions for monitoring the effectiveness of microbial control in life science ultrapure water and manufacturing processes.” Microbial monitoring involves keeping water safe from bacteria, viruses and other contaminants. SUEZ water testing tools now include total organic carbon, conductivity, bacterial endotoxin testing and microbial load.
“Sentinel Monitoring Systems is a great company with a strong track record of pioneering innovation since its launch in 2014,” said Yuvbir Singh, CEO of SUEZ Water Technologies & Solutions. “As we continue to grow our business, we believe this acquisition expands our portfolio of analytical instruments and is a tremendous opportunity for SUEZ, our customers, employees and partners around the world.”
Industrial applications for their technology range from municipal water to life sciences to food and beverage and chemical processing.