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Early Cancer Institute

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The BEST4 trial, jointly funded by Cancer Research UK and the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), will explore if the capsule sponge can prevent deaths from oesophageal cancer when offered as a screening test to people on long-term medication for heartburn – one of the most common Barrett's oesophagus symptoms.

The trial could pave the way for a test to be established as a routine screening programme to detect the condition, which can lead to oesophageal cancer.

Previous studies showed the capsule sponge, pioneered by Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald and her team at the University of Cambridge, detected 10 times more cases of Barrett’s oesophagus compared with routine GP care. Professor Fitzgerald said: “The BEST4 trial is an exciting opportunity to take our work on the capsule sponge to the next level and see whether this test not only detects more cases, but also saves lives from cancer of the oesophagus.

BEST4 trial information.