We hope that this section of our website will give you a summary of the research that is being carried out, and how this may affect outcomes in due course.


Early Diagnosis



Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald at Cambridge and her team are working on Cytosponge, a ‘pill on a string’ that would enable nurses in GP surgeries to collect samples that would be analysed to diagnose Barrett’s Oesophagus, a precursor to oesophageal adenocarcinoma.   In 2019 this was the subject of the BEST3 trial.   Cytosponge might be introduced if the current trial is successful, and it passes NICE Guidance process (a process possibly taking 2-3 years).


Breath test:


Being developed by Professor George Hanna at Imperial College, a breath test would identify cells relative to oesophageal adenocarcinoma using volatile organic compounds.   It is known that some dogs can smell cancer, and this project could potentially identify other cancers.     

More recently, the breath test also being looked at by Rebecca Fitzgerald


Saliva test:


Professor Laurence Lovat at University College Hospital, London, is conducting the SPIT study, examining saliva tests.

When combined with a questionnaire related to cancer risks, the saliva test can apparently predict cancer to a very significant level.


UK Barrett's Oesophagus Registry

The registry contains data on around 14,500 patients registered by gastroenterologists at 48 centres, and is the largest registry in the world for this condition.