Gastroenterologists routinely use optical imaging and ultrasound for the minimally invasive diagnosis and treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases and cancerous tumors in gastrointestinal tract and related organs. Recent advances in gastroenterological photoacoustics represent combination of multispectral and multiscale photoacoustic (PA), ultrasound (US), and near-infrared (NIR) fluorescent imaging. The novel PA endoscopic methods have been evaluated in preclinical models using catheter-based miniature probes either noncontact, all-optical, forward-viewing probe or contact, side-viewing probe combined with ultrasound (esophagus and colon). The deep-tissue PA tomography has been applied to preclinical research on targeted contrast agents (pancreatic cancer) using benchtop experimental setups. The clinical studies engaging human tissue ex vivo have been performed on endoscopic mucosal resection tissue with PA-US tomography system and intraoperative imaging of pancreatic tissue with PA and NIR fluorescence multimodality. These emerging PA methods are very promising for early cancer detection and prospective theranostics. The noninvasive transabdominal examination with PA-US handheld probe has been implemented into clinical trials for the assessment of inflammatory bowel disease. To facilitate translational and clinical research in PA imaging in gastroenterology, we discuss potential clinical impact and limitations of the proposed solutions and future needs.
Part of the book: Photoacoustic Imaging