Journey of the Cytosponge

How does an idea for a new diagnostic test become a reality? 

Follow the journey of the cytosponge or ’pill on a string’, a revolutionary new test to detect Barrett’s oesophagus, a condition that can lead to oesophageal (throat) cancer in a small number of people.

Created in Cambridge by Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald and supported by the NIHR Cambridge BRC and NIHR Cambridge Clinical Research Facility, the idea for the cytosponge began back in 2001. Twenty years later, this ground-breaking device could transform the way we test people for oesophageal cancer in a cheaper, less invasive way.

This short interactive document shows the crucial stages that research must go through to make sure any new medicines and devices are carefully tested to ensure they are safe for patients, before they are adopted into mainstream clinical practice.

Follow the journey of this research from ‘bench to bedside’, find out what the future holds for the cytosponge, and see how a research idea can become a reality, used today in the NHS.

Click on panel below and click through the interactive document. To exit, press escape (Esc) on your keyboard.

You can read an accessible format of the timeline here.

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