Breath Diagnostics has partnered with Mayo Clinic Laboratories to create clinical diagnostic tests that analyse breath samples.

The collaboration aims to identify individual predictive biomarkers for a variety of diseases, including lung cancer. The partners intend to develop a non-invasive, quick and cost-effective test to identify indeterminate pulmonary nodules and monitor for potential recurrence of cancer following surgery.

Breath Diagnostics’ OneBreath micro-reactor technology will be leveraged to develop the test. Originally developed by the University of Louisville, OneBreath analyses breath that is exhaled into a 1l non-reactive bag.

“A CT scan can only identify the presence of suspicious pulmonary nodules, and many patients require repeated follow-up CT and PET scans.”

The sample passes through a silicon microreactor chip, which is designed to capture carbonyl compounds generated by cancerous tissues. These compounds are then eluted and assessed using mass spectrometry (MS). Other components in the breath are non-reactive to the chip and pass through the microreactor.

Breath Diagnostics president and CEO Brian Ennis said: “This technology will capture specific cancer biomarkers from a single breath. The test will not expose patients to radiation, and it will provide results in less than 24 hours.

“Some current lung cancer diagnostic tools can be costly. A CT scan can only identify the presence of suspicious pulmonary nodules, and many patients require repeated follow-up CT and PET scans or other invasive follow-up procedures like needle biopsies.

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“Our technology is non-invasive and will be a lower cost alternative.”

In 2018, diagnostic company Owlstone Medical raised £11m to develop its Breath Biopsy platform for cancer detection. The system is designed for early disease diagnosis and to enable precision medicine.