Research Opportunity: Cytosponge and Six Food Elimination Diet

Apr 24, 2019 | Crystal Lavey | @crystallavey

If you are considering the six food elimination diet (SFED) for treatment of your eosinophilic esophagitis, you may qualify for a study offered exclusively by Mayo Clinic.

CytospongeClinically, patients undergoing the SFED eliminate the six most common allergen food groups from their diet for six weeks. The food groups are fish, nuts, eggs, soy, wheat and dairy. They then return for an upper endoscopy and have biopsies taken for pathology assessment. If the eosinophil count drops to below 15, which is considered a response, that indicates that one of those six food groups are the trigger food and causing inflammation and swallowing problems. Then, each food group, starting with fish, is re-introduced into the diet for at least two to four weeks. Patients return for an upper endoscopy and pathology assessment in between each food to assess if that was their trigger food.

The study offered exclusively at Mayo Clinic Rochester offers participants the Cytosponge to swallow in lieu of having an upper endoscopy during food re-introduction. The Cytosponge is a capsule with a string attached and is swallowed and kept down for five to seven minutes. By this time, the gelatin capsule has dissolved and a sponge has popped out. The physician then pulls the sponge back up, the sponge getting a sampling of the entire esophagus on its way back up. The sponge is then sent to the lab and processed just like biopsies. The entire visit takes about 15 minutes and does not require sedation or a driver to be with you.

Dr. David Katzka of Mayo Clinic Rochester discusses the cytosponge and how it is being used for testing in eosinophilic esophagitis.

If you would like more information on this study or are interested in participating, contact a study coordinator by emailing

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