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Under the microscope (January 2021)

This month: the camera pill


This month: the camera pill


The “camera pill” – that sounds pretty self-explanatory.
Yes, it does exactly what it says on the tin – it is a tiny camera (well, two tiny cameras) inside a pill. It is hoped to be used to help detect bowel cancer, by taking pictures of the lining of the bowel to look for any problems or signs of disease.

Does this mean the end of the colonoscopy?
It’s being proposed as an alternative, but no, not yet.

Is the camera pill in clinical use in the UK yet?
It has been launched in Tayside, Scotland (dubbed the ScotCap test) and is due to be rolled out across health boards in Scotland.

Why is it being introduced?
Its launch has been brought forward in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is hoped the programme will help health boards tackle a backlog of patients and reduce waiting times.

How did it come about?
The approach was jointly developed by the public sector and industry through an innovation partnership and approved following an evaluation that involved nearly 450 patients across three health boards.

How does it work?
Dr Craig Mowat, a Consultant Gastroenterologist with NHS Tayside, explains: “The colon capsule is a pill-sized camera, which has a bright light and two cameras, which beam images to a recorder worn by the patient. It films the inside of the lower intestine to determine whether there are any abnormalities. It makes the procedure non-invasive and painless.”

Image Credit | iStock

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