Aiellesi nel Mondo. Una nuova tecnologia endoscopica, messa a punto in Canada dalla ricercatrice italiana Marietta Iacucci
Ha messo a punto una nuova tecnologia endoscopica per il monitoraggio e la diagnosi precoce di malattie infiammatorie gastrointestinali e di tumori allo stomaco. Si tratta di una ricercatrice italiana, calabrese per la precisione. La dott.ssa Marietta Iacucci (nella foto) sino allo scorso anno svolgeva la sua attività di gastroenterologo al S. Camillo-Forlanini di Roma. Ora, da qualche tempo si è trasferita in Canada, all’Università di Calgary dove è un apprezzato professore associato nella Divisione di Gastroenterologia presso la Facoltà di Medicina. La tecnica si chiama CLE, che sta per Endomicroscopy Laser Confocale in vivo, alla quale la dott.ssa Iacucci si era dedicata anche in Italia, Gran Bretagna e Germania.
La giovane ricercatrice, che abbiamo contattato, non nasconde la propria soddisfazione per i risultati raggiunti sinora. E sebbene lontana ha sempre nel cuore Aiello Calabro, il paese dove è cresciuta. Ed il pensiero, inevitabilmente, va ai nonni, Ciccio e Marietta, ai quali vuole dedicare questo importante traguardo professionale.
Qui di seguito vi proponiamo l’articolo di Colleen Biondi, che riguarda la sua attività di ricerca, pubblicato di recente sulla rivista medica dell’Università canadese.
It has the potential to save lives and increase our understanding of gastrointestinal disease. It's even brought along a very talented doctor.
Less than a year ago, Dr. Marietta Iacucci, was enjoying life as a senior gastroenterologist at the S. Camillo-Forlanini Hospital in Rome. Today, she is a clinical associate professor in the Division of Gastroenterology at UCalgary’s Faculty of Medicine, and is introducing a novel endoscopic technology to her colleagues. Confocal laser endomicroscopy in vivo (CLE) is intended to advance surveillance of gastrointestinal conditions, diagnose cancers earlier and more efficiently, and finely-tune therapeutic treatments.
Iacucci, a medical doctor since she was 23-years-old, studied this technology in Italy, Britain and Germany. Calgary is the first Canadian community to embrace the tool to better understand the pathogenesis of gastro-type diseases.
There are many conditions which use scoping for tracking and diagnosis. Iacucci’s particular interest is inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)−patients with this condition are at high risk of developing cancer after a 10 year period. With CLE, Iacucci also hopes to learn more about mucosal healing−a key component of remission. And she, along with her colleagues, will work with the technology to learn more about the genotype of people at risk for gastrointestinal issues.
At first glance, the CLE machine–manufactured by Pentax−uses what looks like a normal endoscope. But CLE’s high-resolution scope has a laser on its tip and two buttons that allow for examination of the mucosal (surface) layer and the subcellular (nuclei and cytoplasm) layers. Typical or “white light” technology looks at surface tissue only.
A huge advantage of this technology is that histology is possible during the scoping process itself (a good endoscopist also has knowledge of pathology and can interpret images) so cancerous cells can be excised in the moment.
“You can more efficiently understand the situation,” says Iacucci. ”You can target biopsies and diagnose early cancer.”
Because of the depth of the technology’s range it can even detect hyperplastic or “flat” lesions. This is significant because, contrary to earlier research, it is now known that these lesions can be cancerous. Traditional scoping technologies can miss up to 30 per cent of such lesions. This tool can also distinguish low grade from high grade intraepithelial neoplasia (abnormal cell growth) with up to 95 per cent accuracy.
While the technology does render great potential, there are however a few downsides. It takes time to train professionals to use the technology and because of the detailed work of the scope, the process can take additional time.
When in the office, Iacucci’s priority is clear−to contribute to the lives of patients. When she’s not peering down a scope or consulting with patients however, Iacucci takes time to relax. Going to the mountains, biking and practising yoga are all on the agenda as is an upcoming trip to Mexico. “It is important to be balanced; to enjoy life,” she says.