Development of a Biopsy-Targeting System for the Surveillance of Barrett’s Esophagus

Photo of Irving BigioIrving Bigio, Ph.D.
Professor – Biomedical Engineering
Professor – Electrical and Computer Engineering
Boston University – College of Engineering



Satish Singh, M.D.
Assistant Professor – Medicine
Boston University – School of Medicine
Boston Medical Center – Gastroenterology


Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, or GERD, is a highly prevalent disorder that has been epidemiologically associated with the development of specialized intestinal metaplasia, or Barrett’s Esophagus (BE), a premalignant condition. While BE is visualizable endoscopically, dysplasia within BE is not. Unfortunately, it is the presence of dysplasia in BE which is predictive for the progression to adenocarcinoma. There is evidence that early detection of dysplasia within BE and ablation modifies disease outcome, but the ability to detect dysplasia is subject to the myriad limitations of random biopsies.  Elastic Scattering Spectroscopy (ESS) has been shown, in principle, to be capable of detecting dysplasia within BE.

OBJECTIVE: to develop a user-friendly, integrated system that provides “real-time histology” data to guide biopsies during endoscopic Barrett’s Esophagus (BE) screening / surveillance as well as to guide mucosal resection / ablation. The goals with this system are to enhance both cancer detection and therapeutic ablation with the broad goal being the prevention of deaths from esophageal adenocarcinoma.

ESS systemESS tissue interrogation

Biomedical Optics Lab