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
Flyer-ESOTRAC designed axicon ultrasound transducers


ESOTRAC designed axicon ultrasound transducers

A new study by Helmholtz Zentrum München in collaboration with transducer manufacturer SONAXIS shows that an ESOTRAC designed ultra broadband axicon u...

Participants of ESOTRAC’s 7th but 1st virtual consortium meeting


ESOTRAC’s 7th but 1st virtual Consortium Meeting

As ESOTRAC extends into 2021, there were many topics on our agenda to discuss at our 7th Consortium Meeting on 20th October – this time all virtual....

The cover of Journal of Biophotonics with the top downoaded paper of Dr. He


Top downloaded paper for ESOTRAC

The article „Capsule optoacoustic endoscopy for esophageal imaging“ is among the top downloaded, most read articles in Journal of Biophotonics! It was...

Group portrait of 6th consortium meeting in Paris


The storm could not prevent us from brainstorming

The storm Ciara — or Sabine — tore through parts of Europe, causing chaotic traffic conditions. Nevertheless, the ESOTRAC consortium found their way...

Scientists and reviewers on the second review meeting of ESOTRAC


„You have done a wonderful job“

…said EC project officer Eddy Corthals at the end of our second review meeting of ESOTRAC, held on November 26th in Munich including a live demo of...