US-based diagnostics product maker Thermo Fisher Scientific has entered a collaborative partnership with breath biopsy solutions provider Owlstone Medical, for the discovery and validation of new biomarkers by non-invasive breath sampling in order to advance the early diagnosis of cancer and other diseases.

This collaboration will see the integration of Thermo Fisher’s Orbitrap GC-MS technology into Owlstone Medical’s Breath Biopsy platform.

It will also qualify Thermo Fisher’s mass analysers for identification of novel biomarkers through a validated discovery and routine analysis project.

The companies will jointly develop analytical methods to carry out metabolomics studies of breath samples for development of new biomarkers that could lead to non-invasive solutions for early detection of cancer and other diseases.

Thermo Fisher Scientific director of marketing for gas chromatography Morten Bern said: “There is a growing need for non-invasive diagnostic solutions to support early disease detection, patient treatment and increase remission rates.

“The combination of our Orbitrap GC-MS technology with Owlstone Medical’s Breath Biopsy platform provides a unique basis to improve patient outcomes through the discovery of novel biomarkers and their incorporation into research use and clinical tests.”

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Owlstone Medical co-founder and chief executive officer Billy Boyle said: “The Orbitrap platform’s ability to detect a wide range of chemicals during targeted and untargeted analyses without losing selectivity or sensitivity, promises to be of substantial benefit to our Breath Biopsy platform.

“With a large and rapidly expanding installed base of GC Orbitrap systems, our collaboration with Thermo Fisher Scientific represents an exciting opportunity for cross-promotion of the platform and technique, by which the benefits of Breath Biopsy can be broadly realised.”

Meanwhile in a separate development, Thermo Fisher Scientific has announced its Aquilos 2 Cryo-FIB, a DualBeam system for the preparation of thin, electron-transparent samples from biological specimens.

The system simplifies the cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET) workflow by minimising sample preparation time and risk of contamination. It also offers a more exact view of particular points of interest in detail compared to previous models.

Moreover, when the Aquilos 2 is used as part of the cryo-ET workflow, researchers will be able to prepare more and thinner samples to get a clearer picture of the inside of cells.