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).
The resulting system will operate in label free mode and, due to its tomographic ability, visualize sub-surface tissue features, providing superior information of the esophageal wall compared to conventional video endoscopes. This comprehensive sub-surface information is expected to detect early-stage EC and enable disease staging, neither of which can be done reliably today. The novel endoscope can be further useful in reducing the number of unnecessary biopsies by providing more accurate guidance to suspicious areas over white-light endoscopy.