A Pill On A String Can Detect Early Oesophageal Cancer

According to Cancer Research UK, 9,211 people in Europe are diagnosed with oesophageal cancer annually with a 12% survival rate. Although, 59% of those cases are preventable, oesophageal cancer is very hard to detect, and screening methods are quite invasive.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge have created something called the “Cytosponge” to detect Barret’s Oesophagus early on.

Barret’s Oesophagus is a condition where the cells in the lining of the oesophagus begin to change shape and grow abnormally. This condition increases a person’s chance of having oesophageal cancer.

“Barrett’s oesophagus and the cancer share many mutations, but we are now a step closer to understanding which are the important mutations that tip the condition over into a potentially deadly form of cancer,” said co-author Dr Caryn Ross-Innes.

The pill attached to a string would dissolve into a sponge after a patient swallows it. It would then be pulled through the throat lining, collecting cells. Which can then be tested.

Thanks to samples beaing drawn from a large area, chances of detection would be improved. Clinical trials are still going on for the new screening but, it would be more cost effective and less time consuming for patients.

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