ESOTRAC - listening to light


listening to light

ESOTRAC - addressing an urgent medical need


addressing an urgent medical need

ESOTRAC - challenging endeavor


challenging endeavor

ESOTRAC - increasing penetration depth & adaptation of software


increasing penetration depth & adaptation of software

ESOTRAC - offering multispectral analysis


offering multispectral analysis

ESOTRAC - international interdisciplinary team


international interdisciplinary team




ESOTRAC, a 4-year research program bringing together engineers and physicians, aims to significantly improve the detection of early-stage esophageal cancer. The interdisciplinary, 5-country research team will develop an innovative endoscope that combines sensing of pathophysiological tissue signatures resolved by multi-spectral optoacoustic (photoacoustic) tomography (MSOT) with morphological disease signatures provided by optical coherence tomography (OCT).




More than 450.000 people are diagnosed with esophageal cancer (EC) each year worldwide and ~400.000 die annually from the disease. The high mortality rate is attributed to the late detection of the disease, largely due to insufficient detection methods today. Besides loss of life, treating late disease incurs costs in the range of $80,000-250,000 per patient lifetime making esophageal cancer among the most expensive diseases to treat in oncology today. Risk factors, including obesity, chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and Barret’s esophagus, implicate diagnostically a much larger population. It is estimated that at least 100 million people suffer of GERD in Western Countries and that ~10 million people in Western countries live with Barrett’s esophagus. Alarmingly, due to an aging and more overweight population the incidence rates of GERD, Barrett’s esophagus and EC are increasing.

Today, EC detection and diagnosis is typically based on white-light endoscopy (WLE), i.e. the visual inspection of the esophagus lumen through an optical system (endoscope) and subsequent pathological analysis of biopsied samples. Human vision however is insensitive to detecting early disease (dysplasia / sub-surface lesions) and lacks specificity and staging ability compromising disease prognosis. Due to WLE limitations, random biopsies may be prescribed to improve the chances of detecting early disease and tumor staging. Random tissue sampling is nevertheless sub-optimal and it may miss EC. Therefore, EC is often detected late in the course of development, which decreases the five year survival rate by more than 80% compared to early detection of the disease.

Thus, a novel tool for early detection of EC is urgently needed.



Helmholtz Zentrum München Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
University of Cambridge
Medizinische Universität Wien
RayFos Ltd.
Ascenion GmbH
Amplitude Systèmes
Danmarks Tekniske Universitet


The first consortium meeting

The ESOTRAC consortium gathered for their first consortium meeting at Hotel Europa, Munich from July 20-21, 2017. All partners reported on the proceedings of their respective work packages and discussed the next steps in the project. After two intense, but very productive days, the partners agreed...


Start of the ESOTRAC website

The website of the ESOTRAC project was started on 28th of April, 2017.


ESOTRAC kick-off meeting

The ESOTRAC kick off Meeting took place on Jan 19th and 20th, 2017 at Hotel "Bayerischer Hof" in Freising, Germany. The partners had intense, fruitful discussions regarding the project proceedings and the timeline and decided on the most important actions to be taken within the first 6...


ESOTRAC project was funded by Horizon2020

ESOTRAC project was funded by Horizon2020. The aim of this project is to develop novel photonic components (light sources, optical/optoacoustic scopes) and to innovate novel medical system designs. Then, ESOTRAC performs pilot studies to investigate the functionality of the new endoscope and...