Clinical trial to develop breath test for cancer launched - EPR

Kenny Tucker
January 6, 2019

Researchers funded by Cancer Research are about to start trialing a breathalyzer-like cancer test they hope will be able to diagnose the disease from simple chemical changes to your breath.

An array of illnesses create signature smells, and recent research indicates a person's breath could lead to an early cancer diagnosis, according to the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre.

"Through this clinical trial we hope to find signatures in breath needed to detect cancers earlier".

"We urgently need to develop new tools, like this breath test, which could help to detect and diagnose cancer earlier, giving patients the best chance of surviving their disease", Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald, lead trial investigator at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre, said in a statement.

The test works by spotting waste products given off by cancer cells, which are known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Cells produce a variety of VOCs as part of their ordinary biochemical reactions, and the researchers say VOC patterns sometimes change when cancer alters those reactions.

The research team is trying to find out if this pattern or odour can be identified in people's breath, using breath biopsy technology.

Last year, World Health Organization estimated 9.6 million deaths were attributable to cancer.

Directly funded by device manufacturer Owlstone Medical, the test will at first take samples from people suspected of having stomach or oesophageal cancers, before being expanded to look for signs of other types, such as pancreatic, prostate, kidney, bladder and liver cancers.

Jimmy Butler has called out 76ers coach about team's offensive approach
Since Butler's arrival in Philly, his numbers have dropped to the tune of 18 points per game in 21 outings with the club. However, now it appears that there is trouble in paradise when it comes to Philly's new star and head coach Brett Brown .

Meteors, blood moon, Mercury’s crossing coming to Southwest’s sky
Meteor showers usually occur when particles of comet debris enter our atmosphere and burn up, appearing as shooting stars. The Quadrantids aren't known for producing fireballs, but could still generate some extremely bright meteors, he notes.

U.S. wants access to American detained in Moscow
After two years of friending Russian Internet users, Whelan reportedly started visiting Moscow. That was the same day, December 28, that Paul Whelan was detained.

If the technology is proven, the hope is that breath tests could be used in GP practices to decide if patients need to be referred for more tests.

Nearly half of cancers are diagnosed at a late stage in England, according to government figures. Out of 100 people with Barrett's esophagus in the United Kingdom, up to 13 could go on to develop esophageal adenocarcinoma. A non-invasive test using this technology could help to further differentiate those likely to develop esophageal cancer from those less likely to develop the disease.

Development of a breath test that can discover multiple types of cancers is now underway. Initially, I thought I might feel a bit claustrophobic wearing the mask, but I didn't at all.

The theory behind the technology is that each of us has a unique chemical "fingerprint".

Mr Cutter said: "I am happy that the some of the kind donations that were raised following the death of Audrey will go towards this device which could potentially save more lives".

And Dr David Crosby of Cancer Research UK added: "It could revolutionise the way we detect and diagnose cancer".

Similarly, a greater understanding of the biology of cancer means researchers are now confident they know what to look for.

There are around 360,000 new United Kingdom cancer cases and 160,000 deaths each year.

Other reports by

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER