West Penn Allegheny Clinical Trial Tests New Barrett's Esophagus Treatment

Pittsburgh researchers are investigating whether a new ablation technology can provide safer and more effective treatment for patients with Barrett’s esophagus, a condition that can progress to esophageal cancer if left untreated.

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Blair Jobe MD

"This study will enable us to test a promising new method of ablation that may benefit more patients and enable more health-care providers to ultimately offer this therapy." Blair Jobe, MD

Pittsburgh, PA (PRWEB) June 11, 2013

West Penn Allegheny Health System researchers are investigating whether a new ablation technology can provide safer and more effective treatment for patients with Barrett’s esophagus, a condition associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) that can progress to esophageal cancer if left untreated.

The West Penn Allegheny study, led by [Blair Jobe, MD, Director of the System’s Institute for the Treatment of Esophageal and Thoracic Disease, the CryoBalloon Focal Ablation System, uses a tool that ablates (destroys) unhealthy tissue by using extreme cold. The technology is developed by C2 Therapeutics of Redwood City, California.

“Ablation effectively treats Barrett’s esophagus, however the technique is not often used in community hospital settings due to a number of factors, including cost and the difficulty of conventional ablation procedures,” said Dr. Jobe. “This study will enable us to test a promising new method of ablation that may benefit more patients and enable more health-care providers to ultimately offer this therapy.”

Though the exact incidence of Barrett’s esophagus is unknown, it may affect up to 6.8 percent of people, according to the National Institutes of Health, which translates into millions of patients in the U.S. It is diagnosed at an average age of 55 and is twice more common in men than women. People with GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, are at greater risk of developing Barrett’s esophagus, Dr. Jobe said.

In Barrett’s esophagus, the lining of the esophagus is replaced by tissue similar to that found in the intestinal lining. This is believed to be caused by the esophagus’ abnormal, excessive exposure to gastric juices - acid and bile – from the stomach.

The CryoBalloon Focal Ablation System destroys the unhealthy tissue using extreme cold, with the help of an endoscope to see down the mouth and esophagus. The CryoBalloon is placed in the esophagus, inflated and cooled, which freezes and destroys the unhealthy Barrett’s esophagus tissue.

Patients undergoing the CryoBalloon procedure receive conscious sedation before the insertion of the endoscope. One group of participants in the study will receive a six-second treatment and the other an eight-second treatment. The entire procedure takes less than 30 minutes. Participants will then have a follow-up endoscopy six to eight weeks later to determine if the CryoBalloon effectively destroyed the Barrett’s esophagus tissue. There are currently over 10 patients enrolled in the study and early outcomes have been positive.

Dr. Jobe is currently enrolling patients in the study at Canonsburg General Hospital, part of the West Penn Allegheny Health System. The treatment will be provided at no cost.

Patients diagnosed with Barrett’s esophagus are eligible to participate. Candidates will first undergo a set of standard medical tests and procedures to determine their general state of health. Final eligibility is not determined until the patient’s esophagus is examined via the endoscope.

For more information about the study, contact 412.578.1343.


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