Barrett's Esophagus (BE) is a condition in which the normal lining of the lower part of the esophagus is replaced over time by another type of lining, normally present in the stomach. Usually BE develops during the process of healing after a chronic injury to the esophageal mucosa such as caused by reflux of gastric juice (GERD) in the esophagus. Continued reflux may cause dysplastic changes progressing from Low-Grade to HGD. Such dysplasia may lead to esophageal adenocarcinoma, which is a life-threatening condition. The U.S. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearing House (NDDIC) estimates that the risk of developing adenocarcinoma is 30 to 125 times greater in people who have BE than in people who do not.
Baylor Scott & White Research Institute has received funding for a study from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, one of the 27 institutes and centers of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation's premier medical research agency.
The incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma has increased 8-fold over the past 50 years. This is one of the deadliest cancers, with a five-year survival rate of only 20 percent.