Owlstone and Cancer Research UK begin breath biopsy trial for cancer detection


UK-based diagnostics firm Owlstone Medical has commenced the PAN Cancer trial to assess its Breath Biopsy platform for the early detection of various types of cancer.

Being conducted in partnership with the Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Cambridge Centre, the main objective of the trial is to develop breath biopsy tests to detect bladder, breast, head and neck, kidney, oesophageal, pancreatic and prostate cancers, as well as brain tumours.

Cancer researchers from the University of Cambridge and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will also participate in the trial, while CRUK Cambridge Centre professor Rebecca Fitzgerald will be the trial’s chief investigator.

Professor Fitzgerald said: “New tools that can help to diagnose cancer earlier are urgently needed.

"Owlstone's Medical Breath Biopsy platform is designed to allow complete and non-invasive capture of volatile organic compound biomarkers in a breath sample, facilitating highly sensitive and selective analysis."

“The PAN Cancer trial forms part of our Early Detection Programme, a flagship initiative of the CRUK Cambridge Centre that aims to devise better means of detecting cancer and diagnosing it in the early stages, which can lead to improved outcomes for cancer patients.”

Owlstone's Medical Breath Biopsy platform is designed to allow complete and non-invasive capture of volatile organic compound biomarkers in a breath sample, facilitating highly sensitive and selective analysis.

As part of the trial, Owlstone’s ReCIVA Breath Sampler will be used to take breath samples from patients who are referred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital for clinical assessment in relation to suspected cancer diagnosis.

The samples will then be sent to the firm’s Breath Biopsy clinical laboratory located in Cambridge, UK, and will be compared with those of patients without cancer during the trial period to investigate the possibility of identifying reliable biomarkers for early cancer diagnosis.