If you read our news section or follow us on social media you will know how excited we are about our new Mobile Diagnostic Unit.  In partnership with project DELTA, we are about to start a pilot which will use The Cytosponge to screen for Barrett’s Oesophagus and oesophageal cancer in a community setting.  Currently the Cytosponge is available through some hospitals for the monitoring of Barrett's, so this is an important next step to trying to make it more widely available.

The Cytosponge or "Heartburn Sponge Test" is a small capsule on a string which is swallowed by a patient.  It expands in the stomach to form a sponge and is then removed a few minutes later, collecting cells from the inner lining of the oesophagus.  The test has been developed at the University of Cambridge and has been rigorously tested and shown to be safe and acceptable to thousands of patients in a large multi-centre trial.  It’s use in primary care will reduce the need for invasive endoscopies, saving NHS funds and the time of patients and professionals alike.  It will help reduce the backlog in screening caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, increase rates of early diagnosis and ultimately, save lives.

The video below gives some more information and shows the unit in its first location, Shelford Medical Practice, Cambridge.


Sponge Test - Self Referral Criteria

Our pilot started in Cambridgeshire and will move to Essex and Suffolk in the coming months.

Most of those who will access The Cytosponge during the pilot have been selected by their GP according to their medical history, however, we are thrilled that there is an opportunity for a limited number of patients who might be interested in having the test to self-refer.

If you:

  • Live in the Cambridgeshire area
  • Suffer with heartburn/acid reflux
  • Regularly buy medicine over the counter to help
  • Would be interested in having The Cytosponge Test

Call 01223 761085 or email [email protected] for more information 

The information available by clicking the buttons below may be of further interest, answering questions about The Cytosponge and it's current and future availability within the UK. 


The Cytosponge in The NHS