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Barrett's Esophagus is a pre-cancerous condition arising in 10-20% of people with chronic reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus. People who develop Barrett's esophagus may have symptoms of heartburn, indigestion, difficulty swallowing solid foods, or nocturnal regurgitation that awakens them from sleep. Patients with Barrett's esophagus have an increased risk of developing esophageal adenocarcinoma, the most rapidly increasing cancer in the United States.

The Seattle Barrett's Esophagus Research Program uses a multidisciplinary approach that includes:

  • An experienced clinical team that has been caring for patients with Barrett's esophagus since 1983;
  • A laboratory team that is investigating the genetic and cell cycle abnormalities that lead to cancer in Barrett's esophagus;
  • Epidemiologists who are investigating environmental risk factors that may cause Barrett's esophagus and cancer;
  • Dietary assessment researchers;
  • Evolutionary biologists who study the way Barrett's cells adapt and progress to cancer;
  • Computational scientists who model complex biological changes that occur in the progression of Barrett's esophagus and;
  • Biostatisticians who design studies, and monitor / analyze study results.

The Seattle Barrett's Esophagus Research Program is dedicated to improving the lives of people who have Barrett's esophagus. We are committed to understanding the genetic mechanisms and environmental risk factors that ultimately result in cancer of the esophagus, and identifying intermediate genetic markers that will allow for the early identification of patients at an increased risk of developing esophageal cancer so that the cancer can be prevented or detected when it is early and the patient can be cured. Equally important, we are commited to identifying people whose risk of progression to cancer is low so that they can be reassured of their low risk. The Seattle Barrett's Esophagus Research Program has shown that a systematic, multidisciplinary approach designed to detect cancers arising in Barrett's esophagus when they are small and curable can improve the five-year cure rate for patients who develop esophageal adenocarcinoma by a factor greater than twenty.

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