Owlstone Medical initiates clinical trial of FAIMS technology to detect colorectal cancer

7 February 2017 (Last Updated February 7th, 2017 18:30)

Diagnostics firm Owlstone Medical has initiated a clinical trial InTERCEPT to evaluate the use of its Field Asymmetric Ion Mobility Spectrometer (FAIMS) technology in breath and urine tests for the early detection of colorectal cancer.

Diagnostics firm Owlstone Medical has initiated a clinical trial InTERCEPT to evaluate the use of its Field Asymmetric Ion Mobility Spectrometer (FAIMS) technology in breath and urine tests for the early detection of  colorectal cancer.

The patented technology is designed to quickly and easily identify volatile organic compound (VOC) biomarkers in breath, urine and other clinical samples of patients with cancer, asthma and tuberculosis.

The VOC biomarkers are detected by differentiating charged gaseous molecules based on their speed during movement through a buffer gas under the influence of an oscillating electric field.

"Early detection is our greatest opportunity for saving lives when chances of survival are higher than 90%."

The InTERCEPT trial will assess the FAIMS technology during a non-invasive, high-compliance breath and urine test in approximately 1,400 colorectal cancer patients.

Owlstone Medical co-founder and chief executive officer Billy Boyle said: "Early detection is our greatest opportunity for saving lives when chances of survival are higher than 90%, through our InTERCEPT trial we hope to make this a reality for more patients.”

The results from a pilot study of the microchip FAIMS platform technology indicated 88% sensitivity for detecting VOC biomarkers in colorectal cancer.

The study further showed that the technology has 62% sensitivity for detection of a pre-cancerous stage of colorectal cancer called advanced adenomas.

This indictaes an enhanced rate of detection compared to the fecal occult blood tests, which are currently used within the Nationa Health Service (NHS) bowel cancer screening programme.

The trial is being conducted in partnership with the University of Warwick and the University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust.