This project is one of the three improvements to a fluoroscope under development described in UA19-249. This falloposcope was designed with optical elements selected for the detection of early-stage ovarian cancer in the fallopian tube epithelium. The mode scrambler improvement in this project acts to widen and brighten the illumination profile to better serve to image the fallopian tube lumen. This is particularly important at the farther ends of the tubes, where the tubes branch into fingers. Cancer research has focused on the transfer of pre-cancerous lesions from the fallopian tube epithelium to the ovary surface at this interface.
Although rare, ovarian cancer is often deadly because it is detected late. Pelvic ultrasounds and the CA-125 blood test are generally accurate for detecting late-stage III-IV ovarian cancer, but the survival rates are less than 30%, compared with > 90% survival rates for cancer detected in early stages, I-II. Therefore, there is strong interest in developing better early detection screening procedures, particularly for high-risk women with the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutation. A reliable early detection procedure would provide an option other than the removal of all reproductive organs after 40 for high-risk women. Current research includes examining early-stage lesions on the surface of ovaries and the fallopian tube epithelium. Access to the fallopian tubes through the cervix is an attractive option because it does not involve surgery; instead, fluoroscopic examination can be done in a clinic with mild sedation. However, to be effective, a falloposcope must be small enough to pass through the narrow 1mm opening from the uterus to the proximal portion of the fallopian tube but it must have sufficient resolution and field of view to image the 4cm wide fimbrial portion of the tube approximately 10km away.
Other companies using fiber optics have employed similar methods for achieving changed illumination profiles though not in the field of endoscopic examination of the fallopian tubes for early cancer screening.
- Falloposcopic tuboplasty
- Detection of early-stage ovarian cancer
- Easy to manufacture and implement in falloposcope prototype
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