McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine
faculty member James Luketich, M.D. (pictured), Co-Director of Surgical Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and the Sampson Family Endowed Chair in Thoracic Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, is the head of an on-going clinical trial of a new medical device for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The LINX™ Reflux Management System is an investigational device designed to restore the function of the Lower Esophageal Sphincter, preventing reflux and many of the symptoms that accompany it.
In patients with GERD the natural barrier has lost its muscular tone necessary to keep the contents of the stomach from routinely "refluxing" into the esophagus. This reflux is responsible for the discomfort of heartburn. More importantly, it can damage the walls of the esophagus and lead to more serious conditions such as esophagitis and Barrett's esophagus.
"On a good day, your valve opens for food and closes after you have eaten," said Dr. Luketich. "It prevents heartburn."
Dr. Luketich said that for millions of Americans, the valve malfunctions, usually after meals. So, instead of staying closed, it intermittently will leak, and that allows the acid to come back.
The LINX™ device is made of titanium beads that are linked together to take the shape of a small bracelet. Each of these beads contains a magnetic core that attracts it to the beads next to it.
Using a surgical technique called laparoscopy, the LINX™ device is placed around the esophagus in the area of the Lower Esophageal Sphincter. Once in place, the magnetic attraction between the beads may help support the esophagus to prevent reflux episodes.
Dr. Luketich said the ideal patient for the clinical trial is someone who doesn't have any obvious lifestyle changes to make, but whose heartburn still overwhelms medications. To speak to a Pittsburgh study coordinator and to see if you qualify, call 412-647-8583.
Dr. Luketich is also an Associate Professor of Surgery, Chief, Division of Thoracic and Foregut Surgery, Co-Director, Lung Cancer Center, and Co-Director, Mark Ravitch/Leon C. Hirsch Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Illustration: McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
WPXI (with video) (05/07/09)
LINX Reflux Management System Clinical Trial
Bio: Dr. James Luketich