New research showing that oesophageal cancer can be split into three different subtypes could lead to a more specific and targeted treatment being developed for patients suffering with the disease.

The study, which was conducted by scientists funded by Cancer Research UK and the Medical Research Council, analysed the genetic make-up of 129 oesophageal cancers. The scientists were able to subdivide the disease into three types based on DNA signatures within the cells.

Currently, targeted treatments for the disease have not been successful, but this medical discovery could now lead to improved treatment plans for oesophageal cancer patients across the UK. According to Cancer Research UK, only 12 out 100 people living with the disease will live for 10 years or more.

Chief clinician for Cancer Research UK, Professor Peter Johnson, has said that the new finding points to a “completely new way of understanding and tackling the disease.”

Corrina Mottram, a clinical negligence solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “Every year thousands of people across the UK are diagnosed with oesophageal cancer, so it’s positive to see that funding is being invested to create enhanced treatment.

“But the reality is that new medical techniques will take many years to develop, so it is key that patient prognosis – ensuring that people are appropriately diagnosed in the first instance – remains, for now, the day-to-day priority. Early and correct diagnosis and the saving of lives is achievable, but only with a firm government commitment to sufficient NHS funding.”