Gastrointestinal conditions are often diagnosed with an endoscopy, which can also involve taking a biopsy sample. A new approach that may end up being a new standard has been tested for detecting Barrett’s esophagus without endoscopy or sedating the patient.
Cancer Research UK has trialed the Cytosponge, a swallowable device that resembles a tea bag with a long string. The patient simply lets the device slide down the esophagus while holding onto the string, and the sponge is allowed to sit in place while absorbing biomarkers for the disease. After pulling the Cytosponge back up through the oral cavity, it’s sent to the pathology lab for analysis. The trial involved more than 600 patients and demonstrated a high accuracy of detection of Barrett’s esophagus. Moreover, patients that also underwent endoscopy without being sedated reported being considerably more comfortable going through the Cytosponge process than during conventional endoscopy.
Here’s a video from Cancer Research UK showing how the process works:
Cancer Research UK: Swallowing a sponge on a string could replace endoscopy as pre-cancer test…