Infrared Technology Could Soon Replace Invasive Colitis Screening

Using a minimally invasive screening method for ulcerative colitis (UC) is a quick and cost-effective approach to disease detection.

Using a minimally invasive screening method for ulcerative colitis (UC) is a quick and cost-effective approach to disease detection.

Using infrared technology, the screening method could potentially eliminate the need for biopsies and intrusive testing.

The technique, Attenuated Total Reflectance Fourier Transform Infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy, uses testing serum for the presence of mannose — a sugar that’s a marker for colitis. Sensitive to vibrations in the serum sample’s molecules’ chemical bonds, this technology makes a suitable diagnostic alternative.

Assessing the chronic inflammation can be challenging, particularly when the main technique used is colonoscopy, which is not exactly ideal for an annual checkup, since it’s expensive, invasive, and requires sedation.

As such, researchers studied mice in two categories for colitis using ATR-FTIR spectroscopy.

The first group did not have the interleukin 10 knockout (IL10-/-) mice; disease in IL10-/- mice closely resembles the physiological, histological and biochemical features of chronic colitis in humans. The second mice group induced colitis by administering Dextran Sodium Sulfate. Colitis in these mice was similar to ulcerative colitis in humans.

According to the study results, ATR-FTIR spectroscopy was found effective in discerning colitis in mice serum — showing a significant increase in mannose levels.

Unil Perera, PhD, Regents’ Professor of Physics and researcher in the Center for Nano-Optics at Georgia State, said in a news release, “We found that ATR-FTIR spectroscopy is an effective tool for detecting colitis in the serum of mice. This rapid, simple, cost-effective and minimally invasive technique could be further developed into a personalized diagnosis and drug management. Perhaps this technology could be integrated into a portable device, such as the glucometer used by patients with diabetes.”