Fujifilm: Advancing endoscopy to detect and defeat colorectal cancers


Tests & Scans
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Written by Tai Fujita

Tai Fujita is General Manager of Endoscopy for FUJIFILM Healthcare Americas.  He is a graduate of Keio University in Tokyo, the oldest institute of western higher education in Japan.

At 55, Gary has already visited more than 30 countries—and he’s packing his bags because he has 20 more on his list! Linda is 45 and thrilled she just got promoted, landing her dream job as a television producer. At 68, Ralph is more passionate than ever about his fly-fishing hobby because these days his little grandson shares in the joy.

Individuals like these are embracing life today for one simple reason: Colonoscopy. Thanks to this screening exam, doctors caught their colorectal cancers soon enough to save their lives.

CRC: Treatable and Beatable

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the fourth most common cancer in men and women in the United States and the second most deadly behind lung cancer. The National Cancer Institute estimates that around 151,000 cases of colorectal cancer will be diagnosed this year.

Here’s the hitch. Many people with colorectal cancer experience no symptoms in the early stage of the disease. Rather, symptoms typically occur when the disease is more advanced. The U.S. Preventive Services Task force strongly believes that regular screenings are the best way to keep this cancer at bay, leading to their decision in 2021 to lower the age for CRC screenings to 45 after a worrisome spike in cases of CRC in people younger than 50.

While the statistics are unsettling, companies that develop medical technologies are continuously bringing new and advanced endoscopy innovations for use in hospitals and Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs) across the country. This is crucial as screening with endoscopes can find precancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. They can also detect CRC early when treatment works best.

This means that with proper screening, CRC can be one of the most preventable, treatable, and beatable diseases.

Out Front About Looking Inside

Let’s face it. The topic of colonoscopy can make some people anxious, embarrassed, or even afraid. Thankfully, many organizations and celebrities have taken steps to reduce any potential worry surrounding colonoscopy.

Singer/songwriter Sheryl Crow, actor Ryan Reynolds, racecar driver Scott Lagasse, Jr., and Texas Rangers third-base coach Tony Beasley have all been involved in initiatives to raise awareness about the importance of screenings. Indeed, celebrities are very much out front about looking inside!

After all, that’s exactly what a colonoscopy, which is performed with an endoscope, does. The Greek prefix “endo-“ means "within, inside." With endoscopes, physicians can look inside the body to detect, diagnose, and treat diseases in minimally- invasive ways—so conditions that once required surgery can now be addressed without even making an incision. 

However, the revolution in detection hit a speed bump over the past three years. Data now shows that CRC screening rates decreased dramatically in almost every country during the pandemic.

Principal causes of the decrease were the restrictions on performing non-urgent medical procedures during lockdown, the need to protect critical medical personnel, and a general fear of contracting COVID-19 during hospital visits.

It isn’t surprising, then, that coincident with the decrease in endoscopic procedures, there was a concerning increase in early-onset colorectal cancer. That’s why now it’s more important than ever for all stakeholders—doctors, patient advocacy groups, and medical device companies—to encourage patients to get back on track with their routine screenings.

This is why Fujifilm has partnered with Fight Colorectal Cancer (Fight CRC).

Moreover, Fujifilm’s innovations support both the screening and treatment of CRC worldwide to help to tackle the surge of early-onset colorectal cancer

Next Generation Technology

An innovator in the field, Fujifilm’s technology supports physicians on the frontline of the CRC battle with the ability to visualize, detect, characterize, and address/remove lesions and polyps.

Staying true to our photography and imaging roots, one of our most impactful solutions available today uses high-definition LED imaging and light modes to give physicians a greater look at what’s happening inside the body.

The ELUXEO Endoscopic Imaging System is Fujifilm’s LED Multi-Light illumination technology, which enables high quality White Light images displayed in full HD, as well as two additional imaging modes: Linked Color Imaging (LCI®) and Blue Light Imaging (BLI), which gastroenterologists (GI doctors) can toggle between in real-time depending on the procedure and clinical findings.

Linked Color Imaging and Blue Light Imaging technologies enhance what the doctor now sees, including hidden lesions and other areas of concern that might otherwise be missed with standard white light imaging.

Clinical data shows LCI can help GI doctors detect polyps that may have been harder to see or could have been missed.*

BLI outputs a high intensity ratio of blue-violet light which aids high contrast imaging of microvessels, helping to characterize findings, and to potentially diagnose early gastric cancer accurately.

This image shows the comparison of utilizing white light imaging, linked color imaging (LCI), blue light imaging (BLI) and BLI with magnification to support detection and optical diagnosis of a colon polyp.

(A) White light imaging. (B) LCI improves tumor detectability; (C) BLI improves tumor detectability; (D) BLI with magnification showed dilated crypts and dilated vessels. Non-polypoid lesion, 10 mm, Cecum. High-grade adenoma

Advancing Care and Education

Fujifilm is advancing patient care and physician education at hundreds of clinical settings across the U.S., from leading academic medical centers to small ambulatory surgery centers. For example, fully integrated Fujifilm endoscopy systems have been installed at Dartmouth, in Colorado at PEAK Endoscopy, as well as at the University of Florida, New York University, Ohio Gastro Group, in Virginia at VCU Health, in Washington State at Providence St. Joseph’s, and in Jacksonville at Mayo Clinic to name a few.

One of the most exciting installations is at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts, which has been Fujifilm’s long-term endoscopy research partner and collaborator and is consistently ranked in the top tier of hospitals in the nation.

Recently, Fujifilm equipped the 15,000-member American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) Institute for Training & Technology, and global leader of advancement and education in the field of GI endoscopy, with 16 of Fujifilm’s industry-leading ELUXEO Endoscopic Imaging Systems and twenty 700 Series Endoscopes. The suite of comprehensive endoscopy solutions was installed in August 2022 and will be utilized throughout ASGE’s live and virtual training programs for both medical students and seasoned endoscopy professionals.

What’s more, Fujifilm forges strategic partnerships with leading physicians from numerous prominent healthcare institutions around the world. These renowned doctors provide input that helps us optimize existing technology and contributes to the development of next-generation advanced technologies that can lengthen and save lives. 

Innovation and collaboration fuels Fujifilm and our partners. Our collective mission is to raise awareness, boost screening compliance, and improve colorectal cancer patient outcomes for all the Garys, Lindas, and Ralphs of the world. Talk to your doctor about colonoscopy screening today. It could save your life tomorrow.

Transforming for the Bigger Picture

Many people know Fujifilm for its instant [“INSTAX”] and digital cameras, but did you know the company began applying its expertise in imaging healthcare by developing x-ray film from its photo film in 1936?

Since then, Fujifilm has been transforming its core technologies developed from manufacturing photo film and has committed much of its energy toward medicine, biotechnology and healthcare.

The reinvention of the company’s enterprise and mission is so extraordinary it became a classic Harvard Business Case Study and a more recent Fortune Magazine feature story.

Our digital cameras are developed with X-Trans CMOS sensors to produce high quality images with the rich color, tonality and dimensionality required to capture the big picture. Now imagine adapting and transforming this imaging technology to enable the detail and precision required to visualize the smallest of microvessels in your GI tract. That’s innovation.

Today, Fujifilm’s medical imaging innovations are a key player in that transformation and are put to use in frontline healthcare facilities across the globe. Our robust medical imaging portfolio includes solutions for digital radiography, mammography, computed tomography, MRI, ultrasound, gastroenterology, pulmonology, endosurgery, minimally invasive surgery, as well as an award-winning enterprise imaging portfolio.

For nearly 90 years, Fujifilm has developed and expanded our healthcare business in the areas of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. As a comprehensive healthcare company with a wide range of technologies and expertise, we will never stop innovating for a healthier world.

*Yoshida N, Dohi O, Inoue K, Itoh Y. The efficacy of polyp detection and tumor characterization of blue laser imaging, blue light imaging, and linked color imaging with light-emitted diode (LED) and LASER endoscope. Ann Transl Med 2020;8(5):152. doi: 10.21037/atm.2020.02.01

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