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PillCam

Odense University Hospital is about to test a so-called ‘pill camera’ in a new collaboration not seen elsewhere in the world.

PillCam® COLON, the latest generation of “pill cameras”, measures 1×3 cm (a little under 0.4×1.2 inches) and has a smooth surface to ensure that it’s easy to ingest. Swallowing a pill that films the inside of the bowels is much more attractive and less risky than a traditional colonoscopy. The pill camera might be the preferred method of screening for colon cancer in the future.PillCam w text

The small cameras start their way through Danish patients in a pilot trial at Odense University Hospital (OUH) starting in the spring of 2015. The pill camera can have a great impact on both patients and the Danish healthcare system, if the technology proves to be advanced enough. If so, the screening with the pill camera can take place in the home and this way ease the strain on the hospitals.

Medical director at OUH, Peder Jest, is enthusiastic:
– The real innovative potential of the camera pill lies in two different aspects, provided that the clinical tests confirm the efficiency and usability. First of all, the citizen will be able to go through a thorough bowel examination easily and without discomfort, transportation to and time spent at the hospital, and send the data to be analysed via the internet. Secondly, the solution could become part of the national screening programme managed by Sundhed.dk, as it can be easily sent to screening participants and provide accurate data to the healthcare system, while at the same time sending data to the personal online health journal citizens can access.

The purpose of the pilot project is to evaluate whether the PillCam® recordings are precise and comprehensive enough to be a viable alternative to colonoscopy. Screening with the pill camera would be a far simpler method than traditional colonoscopy which also represents a lot of discomfort for the patient and carries the risk of serious complications.

The pilot study
In the first trial the camera will be tested on 250 people that have tested positive in the national screening programme. The day before the colonoscopy the test person will do the camera pill examination by swallowing the camera and letting it pass through their body. The camera sends images to a recorder carried by the test person. The data files are transmitted wirelessly to a server where the medical staff can access them. When both the camera pill examination and the colonoscopy have been carried out, the team of doctors in the project will analyse and compare the results.

The clinical tests and research is led by the Dept. of Surgery at Odense University Hospital (Odense, Nyborg and Svendborg) represented by prof. Niels Qvist and prof. Gunnar Baatrup.

Extensive collaboration
The project has a wide range of stakeholders and partners. Apart from the hospital, Sundhed.dk who runs the national screening programme for colon cancer is participating and will deliver the IT platform for the project. The PillCam® is owned by the company Covidien who have chosen to collaborate with the German company Corporate Health for clinical testing of the camera in Europe. In the project, Corporate Health is in charge of analysing the data from the tests and because of this role, they have chosen to open an office in Odense. The overall project management is done by CIMT, Odense University Hospital.

Read more about Corporate Health and the decision to create a Danish office base in this related article

Read more and follow the development of the project on the CIMT website

By: Centre for Innovative Medical Technology (CIMT)

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