Dual Function Camera-cytology device for collection of esophageal and stomach cells and to image the esophagus and the stomach

Track Code:



Small camera/collection device that collects samples all along the surface of the esophagus, increasing disease detection rate.  


This device is inserted into the esophagus. As it travels down, a balloon inflates. The balloon has brushes that collect cells from the surface of the esophagus. Once the balloon deflates, the sample is kept safely protected within the capsule. The capsule also has a camera attached to the front, which takes pictures of the esophagus as it travels down.

To learn more about the technology, you may view the published WIPO application (pdf) by downloading or you can click view the application online.



This capsule can be used to screen patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or Barrett’s esophagus for cancer.

How it works:

A team of professors, engineers and students at the University of Kansas has designed a small (pill-sized) retractable capsule device containing a tiny balloon that can be inflated to project a set of integrated plastic strip brushes with medical grade nylon bristles. The balloon is attached to a catheter, which is attached to a hand pump with a valve. This feature allows the use of “pneumatic cytology,” – air expands the balloon and the brushes collect cells in close proximity to the capsule. The capsule also contains a micro-CMOS camera that is connected digitally to a computer to monitor and record live video. The micro-CMOS camera has features such as 90° field of view, 44 frames/second, LED lighting and 250x250 pixel resolution allowing for good visualization of the esophagus lining and identification of risk areas during cell collection.

When inflated, the balloon will provide a force on the strip brushes that will push the bristles into the esophagus lining. In this way cells will be collected on the bristles. As the balloon deflates, the brushes will return to their primary state: contained inside the capsule. The cells will remain inside the capsule, protected from further biological contact, until they are extracted for testing after the procedure.


The current protocol for biopsies of the esophagus only collects 5% of the esophageal mucosa. This procedure collects much more of the mucosa and increases chances of detecting cancer earlier and reduces sampling error.

Why it is better:

In addition to increasing detection rates, this procedure is less invasive because the device is smaller than the traditional endoscopy, and the procedure of taking pictures and sampling is combined into one device. This procedure should not require sedation and can be done by a nurse or health care worker at a regular patient visit.

Licensing Associate:

Aswini Betha, PhD · abetha@ku.edu · 785-864-1775



Additional Information


  • Lane K Christenson
  • Ajay Bansal
  • Nick Baker
  • Ryan Baskins
  • Parker Gill
  • Hadi Alzuabi
  • Nourouddin Sharifi
  • John Stark


  • Pending


  • Patent-Pending
KU Today