The objective of this research is to develop a practical effective instrument for in-vivo microscopic imaging. The confocal microendoscope is a catheter-based instrument that utilizes a fiber-optic imaging bundle to view tissue at the cellular level in situ. Encouraging preliminary results have been obtained with fluorescence imaging of tissues using a prototype confocal microendoscope system. The primary aims of this research are to complete the technical development of the instrument, to identify and evaluate suitable fluorescent molecular labels, and then to evaluate clinical applications that can exploit this technology. The technical development includes improvements in the catheter and the confocal imaging system. The catheter of the confocal microendoscope consists of a miniature microscope objective and focusing mechanism attached to the distal end of a fiber-optic imaging bundle.
A specific aim of the research is to build a small and optimized catheter that can be routed through the instrument channel of clinical endoscopes or through small openings of the body. The development of the catheter represents a significant technical challenge given the desired size and performance characteristics. Improvements in the confocal system and modifications to incorporate multispectral imaging capability are also proposed. The confocal microendoscope can image endogenous tissue autofluorescence or fluorescence from suitable exogenous dyes or fluorescent probes. A major aspect of the work is to investigate the imaging properties and the clinical/scientific utility of the fluorescent signals. Investigations of tissue autofluorescence, disease-specific fluorescent probes, and cell-permeant vital stains are described. The confocal microendoscope is a fundamental tool that could be used to improve the accuracy of diagnosis or the efficacy of therapeutic intervention.
An aim of this grant is to investigate and evaluate the potential of the instrument for imaging cancers or pre-cancerous conditions of the colon, pancreas, esophagus, and prostate, which are applications where the instrument could have a significant clinical impact. These studies will be performed using ex vivo human tissues obtained from surgery and biopsy. Successful development and demonstration of the confocal microendoscope will lead to subsequent in vivo clinical trials.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants Phase II (R33)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZCA1-SRRB-D (O1))
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Baker, Houston
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University of Arizona
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Tanbakuchi, Anthony A; Udovich, Joshua A; Rouse, Andrew R et al. (2010) In vivo imaging of ovarian tissue using a novel confocal microlaparoscope. Am J Obstet Gynecol 202:90.e1-9
Udovich, Joshua Anthony; Kirkpatrick, Nathaniel D; Kano, Angelique et al. (2008) Spectral background and transmission characteristics of fiber optic imaging bundles. Appl Opt 47:4560-8
Srivastava, Saurabh; Rodriguez, Jeffrey J; Rouse, Andrew R et al. (2008) Computer-aided identification of ovarian cancer in confocal microendoscope images. J Biomed Opt 13:024021