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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 May, 2004, 05:44 GMT 06:44 UK
Cash award for cancer 'dip-stick'
test tubes
Researchers hope to develop a dip-stick test
Scientists at the University of Dundee have been awarded 120,000 to find simple ways of spotting the early symptoms of a form of cancer.

They hope to develop a tool for detecting a condition known as Barrett's Oesophagus.

Very little research has been done on the condition, which can lead to cancer developing in the lower part of the oesophagus.

Scientists hope to develop a dip-stick which can be used to indicate if the disease is present.

Rapid intervention

Barrett's Oesophagus is usually caused by acids "splashing up" from the stomach.

Normally a valve at the bottom of the oesophagus prevents acids from reaching up into the gullet.

However, some people have a weak valve which allows acid to flow backwards into the oesophagus, causing the condition.

If the condition is spotted, the patient can be monitored on a regular basis.

This will allow rapid intervention if cancerous cells start to appear.

The scientists have been given the money to work on a simple tool they call a dip-stick for use in hospitals and GP practices.

A swab of fluid from the throat would be placed below a genetic marker on the dip-stick, which would then show if the disease was present or not.

They hope to have it ready for widespread clinical trials within two years.


SEE ALSO:
Universities get 3m cancer funds
12 Dec 03  |  Scotland
Genetic research funding boost
08 Aug 03  |  Scotland
Breath test cancer screening plan
10 Jun 03  |  Scotland


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