Given Imaging: A Capsule View of GI Diagnostics' Future
Despite all of the recent advances in diagnostic imaging, the small bowel remains a black box with physicians still unable to directly view the roughly 20-foot length of this portion of the gastrointestinal tract. Small bowel direct imaging is currently limited to the first few feet through a traumatic procedure called push enteroscopy. The result of the small bowel's diagnostic inaccessibility is that many patients with conditions that arise in the small intestines are forced to undergo numerous invasive tests of other parts of the GI tract, none of which may produce conclusive results. Given Imaging has taken a futuristic approach to GI imaging by utilizing advances in a number of disparate fields, including visualization, miniaturization, and chip construction, combined with principles taken from Israeli missile design technology. The company has developed an ingestible, grape-sized capsule that transmits direct images of the entire GI tract--including for the first time the small bowel--as the device travels through and eventually is expelled from the body in a procedure called capsule endoscopy. All this while the patient goes about his or her normal daily routine. Capsule endoscopy represents the first major breakthrough in gastrointestinal diagnostic imaging in nearly 25 years. Given has been on the fast track. Less than four years from its founding, the company has obtained product approvals and done a successful IPO. But its biggest challenge remains: to overcome the inertia from the lack of innovation in GI medicine and convince gastroenterologists to adopt this radical new diagnostic tool.
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