Throat Spray To Help Detect Oesophageal Cancer

A throat spray has been shown to help detect oesophagus cancer. Recent research has shown that the spray helps detection by spraying fluorescent dye which sticks to healthy cells, helping to show the cancerous cells. The healthy cells glow green due to the dye and can be seen using an endoscope. The affected areas can then be treated using radiofrequency ablation.

Dr Rebecca Fitzgerald, from the Medical Research Council Cancer Cell Unit in Cambridge, led the study and had this to say: “Current methods to screen for oesophageal cancer are controversial – they are costly, uncomfortable for the patient and are not completely accurate. Our technique highlights the exact position of a developing oesophageal cancer, and how advanced it is, giving a more accurate picture. This could spare patients radical surgery to remove the oesophagus that can result in having to eat much smaller more regular meals and worse acid-reflux.” The spray has been tested on four patients.

Co-author of the research, Professor Kevin Brindle, said: “The benefit of using this dye is that it is specific, relatively cheap and is found in our normal diets so unlikely to cause any unwanted effects at the levels we use. We now need to test our technique in newly diagnosed patients, but it has great potential to be used with current imaging techniques to help improve treatment for oesophageal cancer.”

Oesophageal cancer is usually caused by heavy smoking and drinking and it is a relatively rare form of cancer but it is difficult to diagnose in its early stages.

Source: The Daily Mirror