‘Nanojuice’ could improve how doctors examine the gut

Located deep in the human gut, the small intestine is not easy to examine. X-rays, MRIs and ultrasound images provide snapshots but each suffers limitations. Help is on the way.

University at Buffalo researchers are developing a new imaging technique involving nanoparticles suspended in liquid to form “nanojuice” that patients would drink. Upon reaching the small intestine, doctors would strike the nanoparticles with a harmless laser light, providing an unparalleled, non-invasive, real-time view of the organ. Described July 6 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, the advancement could help doctors better identify, understand and treat gastrointestinal ailments.

“Conventional imaging methods show the organ and blockages, but this method allows you to see how the small intestine operates in real time,” said corresponding author Jonathan Lovell, PhD, UB assistant professor of biomedical engineering. “Better imaging will improve our understanding of these diseases and allow doctors to more effectively care for people suffering from them.” Via ‘Nanojuice’ could improve how doctors examine the gut.

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