Scoping out Gastroenterology Start-Ups
This article was originally published in Start Up
The field of gastroenterology is tantalizing for device manufacturers because it offers one of the rare screening paradigms in medicine, and therefore, enormous markets. In the US, it's recommended that everyone over the age of 50 be screened for colorectal cancer by a colonoscopy procedure. However, compliance with colorectal screening recommendations is low, less than 50% for colonoscopy, the gold standard for detecting precancerous polyps. GI endoscopy is unusual among screening paradigms in its degree of invasiveness and cost, and that limits access to screening. Medtech start-ups hope to improve upon this state of affairs by offering new technologies to improve the ease, decrease the discomfort, and increase the efficiency of endoscopic procedures.
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Growth in the gastrointestinal endoscopy products market is being driven by advancements in GI diagnostics and screening technologies and growing adoption of high definition cameras and other enhanced imaging tools designed to improve diagnostic sensitivity and specificity in vivo, decrease the number of unnecessary procedures, and improve patient outcomes. Looking to the future, technological innovation will continue to impact growth in this market as emerging minimally invasive devices help redefine the diagnosis and treatment of GI disorders.
Spirus Medical Inc. has developed spiral endoscopy technology that it says enables better access to the gastrointestinal tract for diagnosing and treating GI disorders. The company's platform converts rotational movement into forward advancement, causing its devices to be drawn into, rather than pushed into the body.
Early detection of colorectal cancer can dramatically improve an individual's chances for avoiding this deadly disease, and screening colonoscopy is the gold standard for CRC prevention. One detractor, however, is patient avoidance due to perceived discomfort of the bowel preparation process and the colonoscopy itself. Mitigation of these concerns has prompted companies to look for less invasive or even noninvasive screening solutions that have the same sensitivity as diagnostic colonoscopy. These emerging technologies range from advanced endoscopic devices to new methods of in vivo tissue characterization.