Clinical trial to develop breath test for cancer launched - EPR

Breath test for cancer being trialled in UK

Breath test for cancer being trialled in UK

Cancer Research UK have launched a clinical trial to develop a breath test to analyse molecules that could indicate the presence of cancer at an early stage.

In the United Kingdom, where the trial is taking place, around half of cancers reach a late stage before diagnosis, partly because many early symptoms (like heartburn and indigestion) can be mistaken for something far more common and much less harmful.

The researchers of this latest trial hope successful trials of the technology could lead to its use by general practitioners as a preliminary test for further diagnostic cancer tests.

However, this could be a thing of the past if scientist succeed it trials of a new Breath Biopsy device is being trialled in the UK.

A new breathalyser test could soon become the earliest cancer detection tool as a trial of a new device has started in the United Kingdom.

"Through this clinical trial we hope to find signatures in breath needed to detect cancers earlier", she explained in a statement.

In the body's normal metabolic processes, molecules called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are produced. The study, led by researchers from Imperial College London, took in 335 patients and apparently distinguished cancer from benign diseases with an accuracy rate of 85%. The researchers aim to identify these patterns using Owlstone Medical's Breath Biopsy® technology.

Some of these 1,500 will have been referred to the hospital by their local doctor because they have reported symptoms that could be read as early signs of cancer.

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Participants will be asked to breathe into the device for 10 minutes to provide a sample, which will be analyzed by Owlstone Medical's laboratory in Cambridge.

By looking across cancer types, this trial will help unpick if cancer signals are similar or different, and how early it's possible to pick these signals up. If some people go on to develop cancer, their samples will be compared to those who don't develop the disease.

The hope is that the trial will result in a fixed breath signature that can be used to determine whether or not there is cancer in the body.

Billy Boyle, co-founder and chief executive of British company Owlstone Medical, which is behind the device, says that if successful, the device will present a non-invasive mode of testing for cancer.

"Our technology has proven to be extremely effective at detecting VOCs in the breath, and we are proud to be working with Cancer Research UK as we look to apply it towards the incredibly important area of detecting early-stage disease in a range of cancers in patients".

Nearly half of cancers are diagnosed at a late stage in England, according to government figures.

'It's early stages but there are lots of promising signals that look like you will get a different signature from a cancer in your gut than you would from one in your lung, pancreas or anywhere else'.

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