Enhanced Micron CMOS image sensor leads to new diagnostic applications for revolutionary PillCam

Boise 17 January 2005Design enhancements by Micron Technology Inc. have led to the introduction of a new product from the global expert in patient-friendly solutions for the gastro-intestinal community, Given Imaging. Given's PillCam ESO, the swallowable diagnostic device which takes high-quality, high-speed photos as it passes through a patient's esophagus, has been granted FDA approval and will be making its way into use in medical centres immediately. Micron's new CMOS sensor, embedded in the PillCam, features a higher frame-rate than the original PillCam SB design.


With one sensor at either end, and a frame rate seven times that of the SB version, the new PillCam ESO, for ESOphagus, transmits 14 pictures-per-second to a receiver worn by the patient. The added capabilities dramatically increase the system performance and will enable medical professionals to diagnose throat disease and related ailments in the esophageal passage.

Micron is the exclusive provider of the CMOS image sensors inside both of the PillCam designs. Working closely on performance specifications, Micron and Given engineers were able to increase the imager frame-rate, maintain low-power operations and develop a proprietary Automatic Lighting Control (ALC), thus enabling the new PillCam ESO.

Given's revolutionary PillCam SB, for small bowel, was first introduced in 2001 and was universally applauded as the first non-invasive method for direct visualization of the entire small intestine. Last month, that device was the recipient of the Wall Street Journal's Silver Award for Technology Innovation, and won First Place in the competition's Medical Category.

Curtis Stith, Micron Imaging's Marketing Director for Emerging Markets, credits close collaboration with Given to enable these medical advancements. "This effort exemplifies Micron's commitment to innovation and technological improvement. It's a prime example of working closely with a customer to create advanced products that enable new applications. We're very excited that Given's PillCam products have received such prestigious recognition, and that they've received approvals for their next generation of product", he remarked.

A controlled study conducted by researchers at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston using PillCam SB was published in the January 2005 issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, a journal of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA). The goal of the study was to assess the effects of daily NSAID usage on the small intestine using PillCam SB. The study was originally presented at Digestive Disease Week 2003.

"This study suggests there is a need for monitoring for intestinal damage among those patients using NSAIDS on a regular basis", stated Gavriel D. Meron, president and CEO of Given Imaging. "This significant patient population needs evidence-based guidance to balance the risks of potential intestinal damage associated with daily use of NSAIDs, with the perceived cardiac risk associated with COX 2 inhibitors. We believe that PillCam SB will have a major role in this process."

This study analysed 43 generally healthy patients, including those who use NSAIDs daily for relief of osteo-arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or non-specific arthritis, and a control group who did not use NSAIDs or aspirin for their arthritis symptoms. Results showed that 71 percent of those who were exposed to NSAIDs for more than 90 days had visible injury to their small intestine. Injury in these people ranged from small erosions to severe ulcers. Symptoms of dyspepsia or indigestion associated with NSAID use are common in those who use these drugs long-term.

The study found that severe injury was seen in 33 percent of NSAID users compared to 0 percent of the control group. Severe damage was associated with high dose of indomethacin, naproxen, and ibuprofen use.

Micron engineers and Given Imaging first started working together to develop the imaging technology inside Given's PillCam more than five years ago. Micron Technology Inc. is a provider of advanced semiconductor solutions. Through its worldwide operations, Micron manufactures and markets DRAMs, Flash memory, CMOS imaging sensors, other semiconductor components and memory modules for use in leading-edge computing, consumer, networking and mobile products.

Given Imaging is redefining gastro-intestinal diagnosis by developing, producing and marketing innovative, patient-friendly products for detecting gastro-intestinal disorders. The company is developing a complete line of PillCam video capsules for detecting disorders throughout the gastro-intestinal tract. The company's technology platform is the Given Diagnostic System, featuring the PillCam video capsule, a disposable, miniature video camera contained in a capsule, which is ingested by the patient. The PillCam SB video capsule is the only naturally ingested method for direct visualization of the entire small intestine. It is currently marketed in the United States and in more than 60 other countries and has benefited more than 145.000 patients worldwide.

The PillCam ESO video capsule, which provides visual examination of the esophagus, has been cleared for marketing by the FDA. Additional capsules for visualization of the stomach and colon are under development. Given Imaging's headquarters, manufacturing and R&D facilities are located in Yoqneam, Israel; it has direct sales and marketing operations in the United States, Germany and France, and local offices in Tokyo, Madrid and Sydney. More company news is available in the VMW November 2004 article Given Imaging receives U.S. marketing clearance for Pillcam ESO video capsule for imaging the esophagus.

Leslie Versweyveld

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