Simple test may ease management of esophagitis

New non-invasive method sees patients swallow a string, which effectively monitors treatment of disease.

By UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT CHICAGO
October 6, 2012 00:23
2 minute read.
A cell

body cell 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

A simple new test, in which the patient swallows a string, can monitor treatment of eosinophilic esophagitis as effectively as an invasive, expensive and uncomfortable procedure that risks complications, particularly in children.

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, working in collaboration with clinician-investigators at the University of Colorado Denver/Children's Hospital Colorado and Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago, reported their findings in a study published recently online in the journal Gut.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Eosinophilic esophagitis, or EoE, is a food-allergy inflammatory disease of the esophagus in both children and adults. While rare, it is steadily increasing in incidence. In EoE, inflammatory cells in the body called eosinophils attack the esophagus. The esophagus narrows until food cannot pass, causing painful impactions.

"Most cases are first encountered in the emergency room, where a child is brought in because something he ate is caught in his esophagus," says Steven Ackerman, UIC professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics and co-principal investigator on the study.

Eosinophils produce specific proteins. Because these inflammatory cells are not normally found in the esophagus, these proteins serve as biomarkers and can indicate the extent of inflammation in the esophagus.

Currently, physicians diagnose EoE and monitor its treatment by endoscopy. A lighted, flexible instrument is inserted down the esophagus and used to obtain six to eight tissue samples for biopsy from sections along its length from throat to stomach.

A child may require 10, 15, or even 20 such procedures over three or four years, say two of the report's authors, co-principal investigator Dr. Glenn Furuta, professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado at Denver, and Dr. Amir Kagalwalla, associate professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


The new method, the Esophageal String Test, or EST, uses a capsule containing a yard-long string. One end of the string is taped to the patient's cheek before the capsule is swallowed, and the string spools out of the dissolving capsule, stretching through the esophagus, the stomach and the small intestine. The string becomes coated with digestive tract secretions and can be removed for analysis.

Ackerman and Furuta tested samples from the string in the esophagus region looking for eosinophil proteins to show evidence of inflammation. Levels detected by the string test and by biopsy were both shown to indicate disease accurately.

The researchers recruited 41 patients ages 7-20, who were to undergo endoscopy and biopsy. Participants swallowed the capsule the night before endoscopy, and the string was removed just prior to that procedure. The researchers believe the string may not need to remain in place for so long, and the test could be performed in a single visit to the doctor's office.

Although the string test may never completely replace endoscopy-with-biopsy, particularly for diagnosis, the authors conclude, "it certainly has the potential to significantly improve the evaluation and treatment of patients who require repeated assessments."

This article was first published at www.newswise.com

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Lab
August 31, 2014
Weizmann scientists bring nature back to artificially selected lab mice

By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH