PillCam Colon Now Approved By FDA

The PillCam Colon has finally been approved for use in the human colon by the FDA. Statements on other sites that the PIllCam has been recently approved are not true; the PillCam already received approval for use in the small intestine and esophagus. The PillCam is currently under study for use in determining the full transit time throughout the GI tract.


(PillCam Colon video)

Given Imaging Ltd. has won US approval for an ingestible pill camera that can help doctors screen the large intestine for early signs of colon cancer.

The Israeli company’s technology uses a battery-powered camera to take high-speed photos of the intestinal tract over eight hours. The images are transmitted to a recording device on the patient’s waist.

Analysts originally expected Given’s approach to compete with traditional colonoscopy procedures. But company studies found that images from the mini-camera are not clear as those from in-office procedures. So the company has pursued a more limited market for its PillCam Colon: patients who have trouble undergoing standard colonoscopies. The Food and Drug Administration approved it for patients who have experienced an incomplete colonoscopy. The company estimates 750,000 US patients are not able to complete the procedure each year, due to anatomy issues, previous surgery, or various colon diseases.

Science fiction fans who grew up in the 1960's may recall that in Test Pilot, an episode of The Jetson's first broadcast on December 30, 1962, George Jetson goes in for a physical. The doctor uses a special capsule called a "Peek-a-Boo Prober". The doctor uses a special Peek-a-Boo Prober launcher to start it on its journey through the patient. Once inside the doctor uses a voice-control interface to instruct the Prober. Take a look at an internal video provided by the Prober to the doctor.


(Peek-a-Boo Prober in stomach episode)

The tapeworm tranquilizer from the 1981 novel Revolution from Rocinante by Alexis Arnaldus Gilliland also deserves an honorable mention for a similar idea, as does the Crosswell tapeworm from Brian Aldiss' 1969 short story Super-Toys Last All Summer Long.

Via Boston Globe; see also my previous 2009 story using the Jetson's Peek-a-Boo Prober. Thanks to Winchell Chung (aka @nyrath on Project Rho) for the tip on this article.

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