News Headlines Article

‘Sponge’ test for gullet cancer looks promising
BBC News

Swallowed and then retrieved from the mouth by pulling on the string, the Cytosponge capsule expands in the body to collect cells on its way out.

In tests on more than 1,000 UK patients, it was found to be well tolerated, safe and accurate at diagnosing Barrett’s oesophagus.

One in 10 people with this condition later develops cancer of the food pipe.

In Barrett’s, acid comes back up the food pipe from the stomach, which can cause symptoms such as indigestion and heartburn as well as changes in the normal cells that line the gullet.

Conventionally, doctors have diagnosed and monitored these patients for signs of cancer using biopsy – taking a small sample of cells – during a procedure called endoscopy, where a long, flexible tube with a camera is inserted down the throat.