Swallowed sponge could be endoscopy alternative

UK scientists have reported positive results from clinical trials on a swallowed sponge they believe could be an alternative to endoscopy for diagnosing Barrett’s oesophagus.

The Cytosponge is housed in a capsule and attached to a string, which is then swallowed. Cells are collected from the lining of the oesophagus as a nurse pulls it out, according to a video of the process.

So far Cambridge University researchers have tested it on 1,100 patients – more than 600 with Barrett’s oesophagus and

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