In August 2012, Dr. Adam Wellikoff and other physicians at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveport began using Cellvizio to spot potential lung cancers. It was one of the first hospitals in southeastern United States to use our imaging technology to see into a patient’s lung at the cellular level by threading Cellvizio through a bronchoscope.
As we recognize Lung Cancer Awareness Month this November, Dr. Wellikoff took some time with us to reflect on how he is using Cellvizio Optical Endomicroscopy to see changes to the lung and talked about future applications for the technology.
“We started using Cellvizio to improve our diagnostic yield when performing biopsies,” said Dr. Wellikoff. “Also, working at an academic institution the research capacity was attractive.”
Dr. Wellikoff said Cellvizio produces very clear images of what the lungs and airways look like. “Some change a lot and some just a little bit. We want to know, is there a change from normal and to what degree?”
“Cellvizio reduces the number of biopsies we have to perform, which provides patient benefit by decreasing the number of procedures and helps us to get a diagnosis quicker,” said Dr. Wellikoff.
Dr. Wellikoff is most excited about potential future applications of advanced imaging technology and the world’s smallest microscope. “The future is wide open. Identifying molecular changes in vivo would be a huge leap forward and could help with diagnosis and staging,” he said. “We could follow up with repeat imaging to see any changes after therapy.”
As for Lung Cancer Awareness Month, Dr. Wellikoff pointed to two important issues he hopes people will discuss when considering lung cancer risks this month.
“The number one, modifiable risk factor is smoking. Smoking cessation is cheap and non-invasive. It’s not easy, but doable,” said Dr. Wellikoff. “Also, ask your doctor about lung cancer screening and the age parameters and smoking status which determine if screening may be right for you.”
Photo Credit: LSU Health Shreveport