OmniVision Technologies, Inc., a leading independent supplier of CMOS CameraChip(TM) solutions for high-volume imaging applications, today announced that the smallest of its family of CMOS imaging devices, the 1/18-inch OV6920 sensor, is a key component of Avantis Medical Systems' Third Eye(TM) Retroscope(TM) auxiliary endoscopy system.
The new disposable miniature video endoscope, which has already been cleared by the FDA for commercial distribution in the United States, is smaller in diameter than a ballpoint pen refill. Its distal tip diameter of just 3.5 mm allows it to fit through the instrument channels of standard-size endoscopes, called colonoscopes, used in colonoscopy.
"Before the development of the Third Eye Retroscope, endoscopes this small could typically be made only through the use of fiber optic bundles that relay the image to a larger sensor positioned outside the body," said Fred R. Seddiqui, CEO of Avantis. "Through a strategic partnership with OmniVision, Avantis has succeeded in placing a complete imaging system, including miniaturized video sensor, signal processing circuitry and integrated lens elements, right at the tip of the catheter."
Colonoscopy is widely regarded in the medical community as the 'gold standard' for the detection of abnormalities in the colon which are precursors to almost all cases of colon cancer, of which there were over 100,000 new cases diagnosed in the United States in 2006. However, previous research has revealed that 12-24 percent of polyps and a significant number of cancers can be missed during colonoscopy, especially if they lie hidden behind folds in the colon wall. When used together, the Third Eye Retroscope and the colonoscope will permit the physician to see both sides of the colonic folds and other structures within the colon that can hide polyps, cancers and other abnormalities from the view of a standard colonoscope.
Conventional colonoscopes have a forward-viewing camera and an instrument channel through which the physician can pass miniature surgical tools. The Third Eye Retroscope passes through that same channel to provide a continuous backward-looking view at the same time the colonoscope provides the usual forward view.
"It is critically important that this technology complements existing instrumentation and does not seek to replace it," added Dr. David Watts, co-founder of Avantis and member of the Avantis Scientific Advisory Board. "The Third Eye Retroscope works in conjunction with a standard colonoscope, making the best existing technology even better. This means that medical facilities don't need to make major capital outlays to replace existing equipment, and medical personnel have to make only minor adjustments to the techniques that they've used successfully for many years."
Earlier this month, Avantis demonstrated the Third Eye Retroscope at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology in Philadelphia. Jacques Van Dam, MD, a member of the Avantis Scientific Advisory Board and Director of Endoscopy at Stanford University, will present an abstract of a pilot study demonstrating the feasibility of the Third Eye Retroscope on October 31 during United European Gastroenterology Week in Paris. A larger multi-center study to further validate the efficacy of the device is currently in progress.
"Over 20 million colonoscopy procedures are performed every year in the United States and at least twice that many worldwide," said Bruce Weyer, Vice President of Marketing at OmniVision. "We're excited about the potential health and procedural benefits of single-use disposable cameras in a number of medical applications and anticipate steady growth in the medical market for our image sensors in future years."