Science News

Make your Guts Fluorescent

Sat, 3rd Aug 2002

Part of the show How Acupuncture Works

Within the last 2 years doctors have been testing minature pill-sized cameras that can be swallowed by patients, allowing medics to look for any signs of disease as the camera passes along the intestines. A problem with this technology is that the camera can run out of power before it has finished its journey. But this week Motorola have patented a neat solution to the problem. They have added a special filter to the camera lens so that it can only see light of a certain wavelength emitted by a fluorscent dye. The patient drinks a solution made of the dye linked to a spoecially engineered antibody that binds onto diseased tissue. Drinking water then flushes out the excess dye, except where the antibody has locked on to a disease 'hot-spot'. The camera can therefore save power by only switching on its transmitter when it is near to a fluorescing diseased-area.

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