The world's smallest endoscopic probe


A 1 mm² Belgian camera called "Iriscope" can penetrate deep into the lung to detect tumours that remain invisible to current instruments.

Belgian start-up Lys Medical, based in Waterloo, has developed a revolutionary endoscopic probe called the Iriscope, which measures just 1.35 millimetres in diameter and can explore the deepest parts of the lungs with great precision to detect cancer-causing tumours.

At present, the medical procedures for diagnosing lung cancer are subject to a high level of uncertainty (46%), as existing endoscopic probes do not allow precise access to the target area. Failure to establish an accurate diagnosis after the first biopsy can lead to unnecessary treatment, additional costs, and stress for patients.

Thanks to its miniature size, the Iriscope can sneak into the deepest subdivisions of the lung (where 60% of tumours form), offering a full-colour frontal view that makes it easy for doctors to handle. Early diagnosis of lung cancer is crucial, as it can significantly increase the chances of survival (60% vs 18% on average for late diagnosis).

The Iriscope is a competitor to the EBUS (endobronchial ultrasound), used worldwide for lung cancer diagnosis, but has notable advantages, including access to finer canals, more direct and full-colour vision, and a more affordable cost. Lys Medical is currently conducting clinical studies to validate the effectiveness of the Iriscope, with results showing performance at least equivalent to the EBUS.

The company plans to market the Iriscope in 2025 and is also working on an improved version called Naviscope, which will add positioning functionality to the vision.