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Olympus Corp. has developed a high-resolution endoscope that may allow doctors to detect cancerous tissue within the body without taking samples, a company spokesman said Monday.

The endoscope could shorten the time needed to diagnose esophageal, stomach or colon cancer, as it takes about a week to check tissue samples removed from the body, according to Olympus spokesman Shinichiro Murakami.

The high-resolution endoscope is being used on a trial basis at Showa University and two other Japanese medical institutions, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported in its Monday morning edition.

The company has yet to decide when to put the medical equipment on the market, as it requires medical trials for practical use, Murakami said.

The endoscope features a high-performance charge-coupled device camera and a lighting device to zoom up the inside of the digestive organ, he said.

The tip of the endoscope measures 3.4 mm in diameter while the main section has a diameter of 3.2 mm, compared with 2.6 mm for the world’s smallest endoscope, which was developed recently by Olympus, he said.

The business daily said the endoscope has been used on more than 100 patients, while medical specialists have reported it is at a practical level technically.

Olympus is the world’s top endoscope maker.

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