New laser helping patients with inflammatory bowel disease

Inflammatory bowel diseases, like Crohn's and ulcerative colitis, affect more than 1.5 million Americans.

Treatment for these autoimmune diseases can leave patients at risk for infection and even cancer.

For IBD patients, screening for cancer means repeat colonoscopies and tissue biopsies, as many as a dozen a year.

The annual cost for this in the US is more than $1 billion.

Now, a new laser is cutting costs and the number of procedures.
This tiny blue light is a laser micro-endoscopy, a small but powerful microscope for navigating the intestines.

With just a touch of the probe anywhere on the intestine wall, Doctor Razvan Arsenescu, the Director of the Inflammatory Bowel Diseases Center, can magnify tissue a thousand times, spotting even the earliest abnormal cells.

The Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center is one of the first hospitals in the country to use it. Before this laser, doctors had to depend on taking random tissue samples. He says it was like stumbling around a huge dark room trying to find a needle.

Dr. Arsenescu says, "Whereas now, if I find something I can act on the spot."

Good news for Ben Buss, whose Crohn's disease has meant a new diet, medication, six colonoscopies in two years, and a surgery to remove part of his small intestine.

Ben had a recent probe that showed some suspicious cells. Without the new laser, these could have been missed.

Ben says, “anytime you're able to, uh, diagnose earlier things that might be particularly life-threatening like cancer, that's a great thing."

A small light makes a big difference in a deadly disease.
Doctors hope the laser micro-endoscopy will be used to guide treatment not only for IBD sufferers, but also for patients with lung, bladder, and female diseases.


REPORT: MB # 3737

BACKGROUND: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic intemperate of all of the organs in your digestive tract. It currently affects close to 1.5 million Americans. IBD usually includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and can be very painful and uncomfortable. Crohn's disease causes inflammation in the digestive tract and spreads along the tissue. The effects are severe diarrhea, malnutrition, and abdominal pain. Ulcerative colitis is another inflammatory bowel disease that is long-lasting. The symptoms of this disease develop over time, but it only affects the lining of the large intestine. (Source:
SYMPTOMS: Symptoms of IBD may vary between each patient, but they typically include:
* Fever
* Loss of appetite
* Weight loss
* Diarrhea
* Blood in stool
* Urgency to have a bowel movement
* Abdominal cramps
* Iron deficiency

NEW TECHNOLOGY: A new laser micro endoscopy is helping doctors treat patients with IBD more effectively. Whereas before, patients would undergo numerous colonoscopies and biopsies, the laser micro endoscopy can determine which areas need to be biopsied. It allows doctors to simply touch the endoscopy to a part of the intestine, and examine tissue with 1,000 times magnification. In real-time doctors can then determine if the tissue needs to be biopsied. Over 100 patients have already received the treatment, and the hope is the endoscopy could be used to treat lung, bladder, or gynecologic diseases in the future. (Source:

Becky Crader
Coordinator Administration
OSU Inflammatory Bowel Diseases Center
(614) 366-4925

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