Projects and Grants

1. Academic-Industrial Partnership to Develop and Test Imaging Tools for the Early Detection of Esophageal Neoplasia

Funding Agency: NIH/National Cancer Institute

Esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) has one of the fastest rising rates of incidence in the US.Unfortunately, the five-year-survival for patients diagnosed with EAC is only 10%.EAC develops primarily in patients with Barrett’s esophagus (BE). Endoscopic screening and biopsy is recommended for at-risk individuals. However, standard white-light endoscopic examination frequently misses areas of early neoplasia, which are often clinically indistinguishable from normal mucosa and/or inflammatory changes. Studies have shown that as many as 43-57% of early cancers can be missed by this method.

The goal of this proposal is to develop, optimize and validate novel multi-modal, multi-scale optical imaging platforms for non-invasive, early detection of esophageal neoplasia based on optical imaging.Widefield endoscopic imaging will be used initially to screen the surface area at risk to identify abnormal sites with high sensitivity; suspicious areas will then be imaged with much higher spatial resolution to achieve high diagnostic specificity. Both widefield and high resolution technologies will be integrated into a single endoscopic platform to increase the ease and accuracy of endoscopic cancer screening and surveillance.

2. Prospective Longitudinal Validation of Biomarkers Predictive of the Progression of Barrett’s Esophagus to Esophageal Adenocarcinoma: A Project of the Early Detection Research Network

Funding Agency: NIH/National Cancer Institute

This protocol is a longitudinal cohort study of patients with Barrett’s intestinal metaplasia. The primary aim of this new protocol is to create quality longitudinal reference biosample set of serum, plasma, tissue (fixed and frozen), esophageal cytology, urine, and DNA from circulating white blood cells obtained from individuals with Barrett’s esophagus to develop biomarkers that can distinguish those patients at risk of developing neoplasia (high grade dysplasia or cancer) compared to those who do not. Knowing who is at risk of developing cancer can result in better surveillance strategies for at-risk individuals.

3. High-Resolution Microendoscopy for the Early Detection of Esophageal Squamous Cell Neoplasia

Funding Agency: Mount Sinai Global Health Grant (pilot work), NIH/National Cancer Institute (multicenter)

The goal of this proposal is to develop a low-cost, high resolution fiber-optic imaging system which can be combined with current white-light endoscopy. Within this project, a high-resolution microendoscope (HRME) system will be designed, assembled, and tested for use alongside the standard endoscope. We will also develop the necessary software needed to control the HRME and collect images. We will train the clinical staff at the First University Hospital, Jilin, China in the use of the HRME, and in interpretation of the images acquired with the device. We will develop image analysis algorithms to extract quantitative parameters from tissue images and establish the degree of correlation between these values and the diagnosis provided by histopathology.


4. Confocal Endomicroscopy for the Early Detection of Barrett’s-Associated Neoplasia: A Multicenter Trial (CEBE)

Funding Agency: American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE),
                         The Pentax Corporation

Confocal Microendoscopy is a novel way of viewing the GI tract at 1000x Magnification during endoscopic surveillance for gastrointestinal cancers .Confocal examination allows the gastroenterologist to obtain a real-time pathologic-quality image during endoscopic examination.

This is a multicenter trial evaluating the accuracy, safety, and economic impact of confocal microendoscopy for the detection of neoplasia in Barrett’s esophagus..


5. Bioengineering Research Partnership: Optical Systems for In Vivo Molecular Cancer Imaging

Funding Agency: NIH/National Cancer Institute

This is a multi-institutional bioengineering research partnership in collaboration with Rice University and the lab of Dr. Rebecca Richards-Kortum. The goal of this project is to evaluate the role of optical molecular imaging for the early detection of neoplasia in the upper aerodigestive tract.  This grant is complementary to the Academic-Industrial RO1 and will develop and validate novel fluorescent and molecular-specific contrast agents for use with confocal and other fluorescent imaging systems for use in the esophagus and oro-pharynx. Link

6. The Barrett’s Esophagus and Esophageal Cancer Database (BEAD) Self-Determination Theory and Lifestyle Behaviors in Barrett’s Esophagus Patients

Funding Agency: NIH/National Cancer Institute

The Barrett’s Esophagus and Esophageal Cancer Database collects clinical, endoscopic, demographic, pathologic, and quality of life information on all patients with Barrett’s esophagus and Barrett’s-associated adenocarcinoma. In a linked project developed by Hoda Badr, Phd, the  social and relationship factors that may affect the quality of life and health behaviors (such as diet, exercise, smoking, and alcohol use) of patients with Barrett’s Esophagus will be evaluated.

7. Evaluation of  Low Cost High Resolution Microendoscope for the Early Detectionof Colorectal Neoplasia

Funding Agency: Icahn School of Medicine (MSSM)

The goal of this project is evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of a novel, low-cost imaging device for the early detection of colorectal cancer. The device can be inserted in any standard endoscope during colonoscopy to provide real-time, subcellular images of the tissue surface, thus allowing precancerous and cancerous lesions to be distinguished from normal and hyperplastic lesions.


Contact Us

Josephine Mitcham
Research Coordinator
Tel: 212-241-7535