A McMaster researcher is trying to put colorectal cancer on the map, so to speak.
Dr. Qiyin Fang has developed a new imaging technology that takes a "Google Street View" look of the colon.
As a result, Dr. Fang has been awarded 194-thousand dollars to develop and test the panoramic method of viewing the colon to help identify the exact locations of suspicious growths or lesions.
It is one of 37 Canadian Cancer Society Innovation Grants, totalling 7-million dollars, being announced today to help improve our understanding of cancer and generate new approaches to prevention, early detection and treatment.
Dr. Fang is an associate professor and Canada Research Chair in Biophotonics at McMaster University.
His project will use a near-infrared light imager to take thousands of pictures and use blood vessels as "landmarks" to create a map of the colon.
The images will then be analyzed using complex algorithms, zeroing in on suspicious growths that require follow-up.
This first-of-its-kind approach is expected to lead to improved methods of diagnosing and treating colorectal cancer.
A conventional colonoscopy only looks straight ahead.
The Canadian Cancer Society says colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death for men and women combined.
Last year, an estimated 23,300 Canadians were diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 9,200 died of it.
Early detection of polyps is a vital part of fighting the disease, but polyps can sometimes hide within the constantly moving folds of the colon.
The Society say with Dr. Fang's new imaging technique, it will be much easier to detect and relocate abnormalities.