A miniature endoscope for a more precise lung biopsy


Belgian start-up Lys Medical has developed an endoscope that allows for a better view of certain parts of the lung that are very difficult to access, making it easier to locate certain cancerous tumours.

If a tumour nestles in one of the lung’s peripheral nodes, it becomes very difficult to diagnose the cancer immediately. Incidentally, nearly two thirds of lung cancers originate in these hard to reach areas.

An innovative probe developed by the start-up Lys Medical, a spin-off of the Université Libre de Bruxelles, now makes it possible to visualise areas deep in the bronchi that are very hard to reach, and to perform a biopsy there. This endoscopic probe of 1.8 millimetres in diameter, named “Iriscope”, includes a miniature camera and a catheter. A micro-tweezer in the latter can then slip out to collect a sample from the worrisome area.

Unlike the typically used ultrasound probes, this Iriscope provides a frontal and not radial vision. This new type of probe is also easier to handle and would more easily find its way through the lung.

Clinical trials are currently being validated in the Brussels (Erasmus), Essen, Toulouse and Madrid university hospitals and, by the end of the year, the first orders in Europe should be placed before commercial expansion to America and Asia can be considered.

Established since 2018 in Gosselies in the province of Hainaut, Lys Medical is already working on an even smaller version of its Iriscope, which will be useable under local rather than general anaesthesia.

In addition, unlike most other devices, this new endoscope is reusable and therefore designed in a more sustainable way.