There are still major limitations to the technologies and procedures available for endoscopically detecting and treating GI cancers. Among the key problems are the design of the flexible endoscope itself and the method endoscopy is done today. The limited flexibility of the endoscope combined with the pushing techniques applied today for advancing the device into the human body is associated with procedural pain, limiting the willingness of the patients to undergo endoscopic procedures, especially for screening purposes.
Propulsion or locomotion technologies to overcome the classical scheme of endoscopy, without the need of artificially pushing an endoscope through the digestive tract will therefore be of paramount importance for increasing patient compliance and screening rates.
Other restrictions in the field of endoscopic diagnosis are limited tissue analysis capabilities to improve tumor detection. New developments in the field of sensors and optical techniques allow helping with the detection of characteristic features of tumor cells and tissues.
Finally, improved treatment capabilities for tissue resection and destruction or the local application of drugs will be required to combine enhanced diagnostic with therapeutic functions.