X-Ray Pill Screens for Colon Cancer

Researchers have developed an ingestible smart capsule that screens for polyps and cancer as it travels through the intestines.

Check-Cap / Image: GE Reports
Check-Cap / Image: GE Reports

There’s nothing fun about getting a colonoscopy. The liquid diet, the laxatives, the probing… However, a recent GE Reports article discussed a more comfortable alternative: a smart capsule that screens the intestines as it passes through the digestive tract. The C-Scan® Cap is roughly the size of a large vitamin. Users swallow the device, which spends the next 2-3 days traveling through their intestines scanning the inside of the colon and taking precisely timed X-rays. The information is then wirelessly transmitted to a data recorder attached to the user’s back where it can be retrieved and analyzed by a doctor.

Researchers have already conducted two “clinical feasibility studies” in Germany and in Israel to assess the safety and clinical proof of concept. The tiny capsule measures just 3 centimeters long and 11 millimeters wide and includes an X-ray source, photon detectors, an accelerometer, a special microchip, a radio transmitter, and a battery. It only scans when it is in the colon and in motion, preventing re-scanning of the same area and minimizing X-ray exposure. And likely the best part: it’s disposable.

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