In this health video learn about a new treatment that uses liquid nitrogen to destroy precancerous cells in patients with Barrett's esophagus.
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Jennifer Matthews: Years of heartburn forced Bill Mohler to trade in orange juice for coffee at breakfast. Bill Mohler: One of my vices is coffee. I drink about three cups a day. Jennifer Matthews: After 50 years of acid reflux, Bill was still shocked to learn he'd developed Barrett's esophagus, a condition where acid eats away the esophagus' lining and precancerous cells grow in their place. Bill Mohler: They couldn't have cured it. It would have become cancer. Jennifer Matthews: But timing was on Mohler's side. He was eligible to take part in a pilot study University of Maryland Medical Center on a new device designed to kill precancerous cells. Bruce Greenwald: The low-pressure spray liquid nitrogen is a new technique. Jennifer Matthews: Doctors puts patients under, send an endoscope down the esophagus and spray the abnormal area with liquid nitrogen. The liquid nitrogen freezes the bad cells and kills them. They let the cells thaw for 45 seconds then spraying and thawing them three more times. Bruce Greenwald: The patients tolerate the treatment very well. We're seeing a regression of the bad cells. Jennifer Matthews: The procedure takes about 20 minutes, and patients feel little discomfort. They're usually up and about the same day and the results of the study were promising. Bruce Greenwald: To some degree, it helped everyone. Jennifer Matthews: Larger trials will now be conducted at several hospitals to confirm the results, and patients like Bill will continue to be followed. But for now, his bad cells are gone, and he feels great. Bill Mohler: I'm blessed. It's almost like hitting the lottery. Jennifer Matthews: Now, he and his wife can enjoy the retirement they always planned on. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.