Esophageal cancer affects over 450,000 people worldwide. In the United States, approximately 17,000 people are newly diagnosed each year, while some 16,000 current patients will succumb to the disease.
An esophagectomy (removal of all or part of the esophagus) is a common surgical procedure for the treatment of esophageal cancer. The esophagus is reconstructed by repositioning the stomach or connecting it to a removed section of the intestinal track, creating a “mock” esophagus. However, esophagectomies are complex and carry high risk, with a 19% 90-day mortality rate. Problems resulting from esophagectomies include pulmonary complications, leaks at the junction of the reconstructed esophagus, gastroesophageal reflux, and dumping syndrome.
In order to improve the surgical outcome of these procedures and enhance patient quality of life, new and better tools are needed for esophageal reconstruction. Biostage is working on a new regenerative technology to address esophageal cancer through their pioneer Cellframe Technology. Two weeks before the surgery, stem cells are harvested from patient abdominal adipose tissue and allowed to incubate with a biocompatible esophageal implant. These cells interact and adhere to the implant and are able to respond to signals for regeneration once inside the patient, potentially restoring both the structural and functional integrity of the esophagus. These new approaches to organ implants could revolutionize resectional surgery by providing patients with functional replacements derived from their own cells.