Friday, May 24, 2024

Hopes that cutting-edge technology may be able to prevent oesophageal cancer

Must read

It’s hoped the treatment can leave healthy cells unharmed. Photo: Getty

Research is under way to find out if cutting-edge technology can prevent cancer progression on people with Barrett’s oesophagus, a condition affecting the food pipe.

The research was announced to mark World Barrett’s Oesophagus Day today. Barrett’s oesophagus can cause oesophageal cancer in some people.

The recently established Breakthrough Cancer Research AllCaN-Oesophageal Network said it is working on a treatment which aims to target inflammation.

“The condition is characterised by a transformation in the cells lining the oesophagus due to exposure to acid reflux and various stressors, which can increase the risk of these cells becoming more damaged and possibly turning cancerous,” a spokesperson said.

“People with Barrett’s oesophagus can progress to dysplasia – abnormal cells – or oesophageal cancer.”

Traditionally, patients with dysplasia undergo procedures such as ablation therapy to remove damaged tissue or abnormal cells.

“This thermal approach needs to be carefully applied to avoid damaging the muscles and some post-procedure complications can occur,” they said.

Professor Jacintha O’Sullivan and her team, in collaboration with Mirai Medical, are examining if treating Barrett’s oesophagus patient tissue with electroporation can reduce inflammation and alter immune cell biology.

This involves pulses of electricity to target affected cells while preserving healthy tissue “potentially revolutionising care for individuals with this condition”.

It does not destroy the underlying healthy tissue. “As the number of Barrett’s patients is increasing, this innovative treatment may represent a paradigm shift in early intervention and prevention of oesophageal cancer,” the spokesperson added.

Orla Dolan, chief executive of Breakthrough Cancer Research, said: “We have championed the potential of electroporation for many years which has progressed clinical trials in colorectal cancer, fostered the development of ground-breaking tools to deliver electroporation, and have seen the transformative impact it can have on the treatment of skin cancer.”

Patient Peter Browne added: “I think this research is so important for patients as the AllCaN-Oesophageal team are exploring so many ways to identify those most at risk of progressing and ways to halt it.”

Latest article