Research group uses sugar to help prevent esophageal cancer

The Nature Medicine journal has indicated that researchers at the Medical Research Council are able to use sugar to detect early stages of pre-cancerous cells within the esophagus.

Dr. Rebecca Fitzgerald led the research team based at the Cancer Cell Unit in Cambridge, Massachusetts along with New York University’s Lara Mahal, an associate professor of chemistry and William Eng, a laboratory technician.

The researchers use sugar during the cancer stage named “dysplasia.”  This stage is when cancer can be prevented by the removal of pre-cancerous cells.

Many times areas are missed during endoscopies and biopsies which gives patients a false sense of assurance.

Researchers discovered a new method for identifying pre-cancerous cells by spraying on a fluorescent probe that sticks to sugars and lights up any abnormal areas during endoscopy.

Esophageal cancer is currently the eight leading cause of death in the United States and the number of cases has been on the rise in recent years and does not seem to be decreasing soon.

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