When stomach would turn green for ulcer diagnosis
London: Soon, get stomach ulcer diagnosed without that painful endoscopy session.
Researchers have developed a safer and non-invasive diagnostic technique for detecting ulcers in the stomach.
How? By sending some molecules to the gut to make the ulcer-causing bacteria light up in fluorescent green, said scientists from University of Southern Denmark.
“Early diagnosis does not only prevent ulcers from developing, it can also prevent the development of cancer," said lead author Silvia Fontenete at University of Southern Denmark.
Ulcers are often caused by the bacteria Helicobacter pylori in the stomach or duodenum.
“Our laboratory experiments suggest that one day, it would be possible for doctors to send some specially designed molecules down in the stomach, where they will make H pylori glow brightly green,” explained Fontenete.
To see the green light, the doctor would send a small micro-camera into the stomach - so no need for retrieving a tissue sample from the stomach, said the study published in the journal PLOS ONE.
The scientists made H pylori glow green in artificial tissue in the laboratory.
“We believe that the same can happen in a real human stomach,” added Fontenete.
The researchers faced two challenges.
First was to create special molecules that can both detect H pylori bacteria and function at the temperature (37 degrees Celsius) of the human stomach.
Second challenge was that the molecule should be able to function in the extremely acidic environment of the stomach.
Both challenges were solved by working with the so-called Locked Nucleic Acid (LNA) - special synthetic molecules that are extremely stable and can operate at lower temperatures and in acidic environments, added the study.