'Cytosponge' trial aims to reduce risk of oesophageal cancer diagnosis

25 July 2011

Cancer Research UK scientists are currently trialling a new method aimed at detecting Barrett's oesophagus, which puts people at higher risk of oesophageal cancer diagnosis.

Barrett's oesophagus puts people at a much higher risk of developing the deadly cancer, however the cytosponge method could help identify people likely to develop the disease, so they can be offered cancer treatment.

The test involves people swallowing a small capsule with a string attached, which expands to form a small sponge in the stomach. This is then gently drawn back out and sent for testing to see if there are any signs of cancer in the cells lining the oesophagus.

Chief investigator Dr Rebecca Fitzgerald said: "If this trial is successful it will provide a cheap, safe and highly effective method of identifying people with Barrett's oesophagus, so they can take steps to reduce their risk of developing cancer."

It could even lead to a national screening programme like the one available for breast cancer.

According to data from Cancer Research UK, cancer of the oesophagus affects around 7,800 people each year in the UK.

Posted by Edward Bartel

1 'Sponge on a string' trial launched to try and prevent deadly oesophageal cancer, Cancer Research UK, Monday 25 July 2011

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