Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Dual Axes Confocal Microscope for In Vivo Vertical Cross-Sectional Imaging

Technology #4307

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Thomas Wang
Managed By
Tiefei Dong
Senior Licensing Specialist, Life Sciences 734-763-5332
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending

Epithelial cancers known as melanomas account for 90% of cancers globally. In most cases, diagnosis is conducted by biopsy which happens by endoscopy for cancers in the gastrointestinal tract. The earlier that diagnosis occurs, the better the prognosis and the less invasive the therapies that may be used. Alternatives to biopsy include microendoscopy which may allow for monitoring and diagnosing the tissue in vivo using confocal microscopy techniques. The North American surgical microscope market was valued at $181.8M in 2010 and expected to increase in coming years due to increased interest in non-invasive and laparoscopic procedures. There is interest in research pursuing confocal endomicroscopy as a method of disease diagnosis without biopsy, but challenges exist with regard to focal length, field of view and the ability to resolve images in real time.

Real-time Imaging by Dual Axes Confocal Microendoscopy

Dual axes confocal microendoscopy is able to resolve tissue samples in real time because it overcomes limitations due to motion artifacts. Using a micro-mirror to scan the focal volume in the lateral direction, it is able to live image vertical cross-sectional images of tissue for disease diagnosis and monitoring of disease progression or therapeutic effects. The device can be miniaturized for use in conjunction with endoscope or laparoscope technologies and can be used in small animal imaging.


  • Live imaging with vertical cross-sectional images in real time
  • Adjunct imaging instrument to medical endoscopy
  • Intra-vital microscope for small animal imaging
  • Monitoring tissue for disease


  • May be miniaturized for compatibility with endoscope and for use in small animal imaging
  • Overcomes limitations of motion artifacts
  • Capable of providing a comprehensive view of the epithelium which normally differentiates in the vertical (basilar to luminal) direction