Medical Tech Companies Develop First Ingestible X-Ray Capsule

Modern technology allows x-rays to be taken as fast as 30 frames per second, but new advances are creating opportunities for the technology to go even further.

Check-Cap Ltd., a medical diagnostics company based in Israel, has recently entered into an agreement with GE Healthcare to develop an x-ray source for Check-Cap’s ingestible colorectal cancer screening capsule.

The Check-Cap system utilizes ultra–low-dose x-ray and wireless communication technologies to scan the inside of the colon while patients follow their daily schedules. After the capsule has passed through the entirety of the digestive tract, a 3D map is constructed from the data gathered.

The resulting image of a patient’s colon allows clinicians to easily and efficiently detect polyps and cancer.

The system is not currently available for sale or for any clinical use, but the company’s recent partnership with GE Healthcare promises to yield impressive results.

While Check-Cap has been working hard to integrate safe x-ray technology into their capsules, x-rays are being used by art historians in a much different manner.

Edgar Degas’ Portrait of a Woman, painted between 1876 and 1880, has long been known to have a concealed painting underneath its surface, but the details have always been obscured. That is, until x-ray technology appeared on the scene.

With the use of a non-invasive, rapid, high-definition X-ray fluorescence (XRF) mapping technique, scientist Daryl Howard from the Australian Synchrotron and researchers were able to uncover the hidden woman beneath the famous painting.

In fact, researchers have even been able to make an educated guess as to who the mystery woman is: French model Emma Dobigny.

“There are several paintings of her by Degas in various museums and galleries around the world and just by visual comparison it looked very much like her,” said Howard.

“But it will very interesting to see how many other people agree with us, or to hear other people’s thoughts about who they think it could be.”

“Painting over” was a common technique in Degas’ time, especially for artists who didn’t have money to spare for new canvas every time a work was botched. Regardless, this technology could change the way historians study art.

Changing the process is only one of many reasons Check-Cap’s technology was developed.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., with an estimated 49,000 deaths thus far in 2016.

Although screenings can detect colorectal cancer and precancerous polyps, nearly one-third of the recommended adult population has never been screened at all.

Check-Cap’s new technology could not only make the screening process more affordable, it could also make it less invasive.

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