Levitating a sponge for the early detection of Esophageal Adenocarcinoma

Principal Investigators: Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald & Professor Utkan Demirci

Collaborators: Dr Vinod Vijay Subhash, MRC Cancer Unit and Dr Gozde Durmus, Dept of Biochemistry, Stanford

Funded by: CRUK Cambridge Centre and Canary Center at Stanford Early Detection Joint Pump Priming Awards 2018

Oesophageal adenocarcinoma poses a diagnostic challenge because of its asymptomatic nature until at an advanced stage, and a lack of early detection biomarkers. Rebecca Fitzgerald, is collaborating with Utkan Demirci at the Canary Center where Professor Demirci has developed a new nano-technology using a magnetic field to separate different cell types. They will investigate whether the new technology can be used to separate the mixture of cell types collected from the gullet when patients are given the Cytosponge test developed by Professor Fitzgerald. The Cytosponge TFF3 is a cost effective, minimally invasive method for diagnosing Barrett’s Oesophagus – a common condition that can, in some cases, develop into cancer of the oesophagus. The ability to isolate cells of interest recovered from the Cytosponge will improve the sensitivity of Barrett's assays.