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At the University of Chicago Medicine's Center for Endoscopic Research and Therapeutics (CERT), we are pioneering new techniques and tools to advance the diagnosis and treatment of many conditions, including Barrett's esophagus, esophageal cancer, biliary disorders, pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer and colon cancer. We strive to integrate state-of-the-art clinical care with leading-edge research.
As a leader in endoscopic research, our physician-scientists are involved in the development of laboratory research programs and clinical trials. We collaborate with our clinical partners in surgery, pathology and oncology to establish new standards of care. We routinely use confocal laser endomicroscopy, which is a tool for real-time imaging of the GI tract. This gives us a detailed picture of internal organs and, in turn, allows us to better care for Barrett's esophagus, pancreatic cysts and indeterminate strictures of the bile duct. In addition, we sample blood from the portal vein to capture circulating tumor cells. We investigate these circulating tumor cells to explore more information about pancreatic cancer and to develop better strategies for therapy.
Our research is strengthened by collaborative partnerships across the city with biomedical engineering. This collaboration is creating a new and exciting model to improve the detection, staging and treatment of cancer. We currently are involved with spectroscopy research to measure how light interacts with tissue. By studying the relationship between light and tissue, we hope to develop a better process to screen for esophageal cancer, colon cancer and pancreatic cancer. We also are exploring nanotechnology as a way to develop new treatments to fight cancer using targeted approaches based on the individual needs of each patient.
Clinical trials give our patients access to new treatments and therapies that often aren't available elsewhere. These trials may help improve treatments and develop cures.
We participate in studies that range from pilot and feasibility studies on novel technologies to randomized, multi-center clinical trials. Goals of current multi-center clinical trials include improved detection of precancerous cells in Barrett's esophagus, optimizing resection of large colon polyps and improving drainage methods for the treatment of fluid collections.
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