Epithelial cell sheet for esophageal regeneration

A product in our regenerative medicine pipeline to reduce or prevent inflammation or esophageal stricture* that develops after removal of esophageal epithelial cancer. In a clinical study conducted by the Tokyo Women's Medical University, favorable outcomes are observed in reconstruction of the esophageal epithelium, suppression of the inflammatory reaction, and prevention of esophageal stricture.

* Esophageal stricture : A partial narrowing of the esophagus, associated with swallowing disturbance, vomiting, and other symptoms, and caused by cancer- or ulcer-related scar formation.

Product Concept and Characteristics

An electric knife with superior performance, known as an insulated-tip knife, has recently gained widespread use for endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD) procedures in the treatment of gastrointestinal cancer.

ESD is an operative procedure in which an endoscope is used for cancer removal, rather than abdominal incision. ESD reduces the postoperative patient burden, facilitates recovery, and shortens the hospital stay to a week or so. In the treatment of esophageal cancer in particular, ESD yields remarkable benefits - a significant reduction in the patient burden - as compared with conventional operative procedures in which the chest and abdomen may be opened. However, when esophageal cancer is removed by ESD, inflammation and esophageal stricture frequently develop at the affected site. If esophageal stricture occurs, surgical treatment involving balloon dilation for the narrowed area may induce severe pain or recurrence of stricture, resulting in diminished quality of life. These disadvantages are now being addressed by Tokyo Women's Medical University. A epithelial cell sheet for esophageal regeneration is fabricated on a temperature-responsive cell culture surface, using oral mucosal epithelial cells as the starting material. The sheet is then transplanted into the affected esophageal site after cancer removal. This treatment, aiming at both early suppression of inflammation and prevention of esophageal stricture, is already showing good results for reconstruction of the esophageal epithelium.