A cancer breathalyser is in the works

07 January 2019 - 14:02 By Odwa Mjo
Scientists in the UK have designed a breathalyser to detect cancer in its early stages.
Scientists in the UK have designed a breathalyser to detect cancer in its early stages.
Image: iStock / Ugreen

A breathalyser that could change cancer diagnosis is being tested by UK scientists. 

According to The Guardian, the Breath Biopsy is designed to sense cancer hallmarks in molecules when the person exhales into the breathalyser.

The experiment is being tested by scientists at the Addenbrooke's hospital in Cambridge over a two-year period with the aim of  testing it on 1,500 participants.

The patients will breathe into the breathalyser for 10 minutes, which will be tested at the Owlstone Medical Breath Biopsy laboratory. According to Cancer Research UK, breath samples will be collected from people to check if airborne molecules called volatile organic compounds (VOC) can be detected.

In the media statement, lead investigator Rebecca Fitzgerald said: “Through this clinical trial we hope to find signatures in breath needed to detect cancers earlier – it’s the crucial next step in developing this technology."

The breathalyser will be used to detect early cancer in patients for all types of cancers.


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