Research Programs and Clinical Trials

At the University of Chicago Medicine's Center for Endoscopic Research and Therapeutics (CERT), we are pioneering new techniques and tools to advance the diagnosis and treatment of many conditions, including: Barrett's esophagus, esophageal cancer, biliary disorders, pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer and colon cancer.

We integrate delivery of state of the art clinical care with research, which helps us continually discover new approaches to the greatest medical challenges.

Research Programs

As a leader in endoscopic research, our physician-scientists are involved in the development of laboratory research programs and clinical trials. We collaborate with our clinical partners in surgery, pathology and oncology to establish new standards of care. We routinely use confocal laser endomicroscopy, which is a tool for real-time imaging of the GI tract. This gives us a detailed picture of internal organs and, in turn, allows us to better care for Barrett's esophagus, pancreatic cysts and indeterminate strictures of the bile duct. In addition, we sample blood from the portal vein to capture circulating tumor cells. We investigate these circulating tumor cells to explore more information about pancreatic cancer and to develop better strategies for therapy.

Our research is strengthened by collaborative partnerships across the city with biomedical engineering. This collaboration is creating a new and exciting model to improve the detection, staging and treatment of cancer. We currently are involved with spectroscopy research to measure how light interacts with tissue. By studying the relationship between light and tissue, we hope to develop a better process to screen for esophageal cancer, colon cancer, and pancreatic cancer. We also are exploring nanotechnology as a way to develop new treatments to fight cancer in individualized and targeted approaches.

Clinical Studies and Trials

At the Center for Endoscopic Research and Therapeutics, we are committed to innovation. Our research also helps healthcare professionals here and throughout the world to continue learning through participation in clinical trials. We participate in studies that range from pilot and feasibility studies on novel technologies to randomized, multicenter clinical trials. Goals of current multi-center clinical trials include improved detection of precancerous cells in Barrett's esophagus, optimizing resection of large colon polyps, and improving drainage methods for the treatment of fluid collections.

The University of Chicago Medicine is a leader in clinical trials, with more ongoing clinical trials than any other hospital in Illinois. Clinical trials give our patients access to novel treatments and therapies that often aren't available elsewhere. And the trials help us determine how to improve treatment and find cures whenever possible. » Learn more about the current trials we're participating in and our currently active research projects.

You may also do a nationwide search for clinical trials through databases such as www.clinicaltrials.gov.


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Related Links

Featured Publication


Our study of endoscopic submucosal dissection performed in a Western setting was recently published in Digestive Diseases and Sciences. Read the article or view more of our selected publications.