Departments and specialties

Mayo Clinic has one of the largest and most experienced practices in the United States, with campuses in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota. Staff skilled in dozens of specialties work together to ensure quality care and successful recovery.


Innovative and minimally invasive methods to detect Barrett's esophagus without endoscopy are being developed and tested at Mayo Clinic. This research is being conducted in collaboration with Exact Sciences and is also funded by the National Cancer Institute.

The sponge on a string is a low-tech device consisting of a capsule filled with compressed polyurethane foam that's attached to a string. This capsule is swallowed with a few sips of water and dissolves in the stomach within five minutes, releasing the sponge. This is then retrieved by the string, sampling the esophagus and providing almost 1 million cells. The cellular DNA is then analyzed for biomarkers in the lab.

Phase 1 and 2 studies have been completed showing the safety and excellent tolerability of this device. The biomarkers are 97% accurate in predicting the presence of Barrett's esophagus compared with endoscopy. This simple test can be done by a nurse in an office without the need for expensive sedation and endoscopy.

Other innovations such as novel treatment and imaging technologies are also being tested at Mayo Clinic.


See a list of publications on Barrett's esophagus by Mayo Clinic doctors on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.