'Revolutionary' breath test to detect cancer trial begins

'Revolutionary' breath test to detect cancer trial begins

Cancer cells alter metabolism even at the very earliest stage of disease, affecting the pattern of the VOCs exhaled, the release said. In a lot of cases, we simply don't have good tests for finding very early cancers because they don't have symptoms.

The initial two-year trial plans to recruit 1,500 patients suspected of having esophageal and stomach cancers.

The trial will use the Breath Biopsy technology developed by Owlstone Medical which is created to detect cancer signs in molecules exhaled by patients.

GPs' leaders said the research was exciting but they warned patients that breath tests to detect cancer were "unlikely to be commonplace at their GP practice anytime soon".

Development of a breath test that can discover multiple types of cancers is now underway.

If the technology is shown to be reliable and accurate, cancer breathalysers could become common sight in GP surgeries.

Tests of this sort try to find molecules called volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, in breath samples.

"Intuitively, lung cancer seems the most obvious cancer to be detected in the breath", she continued. It will collect the airborne molecules before they are sent to a laboratory for analysis.

Scientists also believe that different cancers will cause recognisable alterations in the VOCs, allowing them to determine the chemical signatures for each.

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"This is a pilot study, so first we're looking at a range of cancers to see if we get a signal and compare the signal to healthy individuals", Fitzgerald explained.

According to Owlstone Medical CEO Billy Boyle, breath-based testing could potentially sit alongside blood and urine tests in helping doctors to detect and treat disease in the future.

"Owlstone Medical will be funding the trial directly, however, none of this would be possible without the support and infrastructure provided by Cancer Research UK", Owlstone said in a statement.

Researchers have launched a clinical trial to develop a breath test by analyzing molecules that could indicate the presence of cancer at an early stage. "It's the crucial next step in developing this technology".

"We urgently need to develop new tools, like this breath test, which could help to detect and diagnose cancer earlier, giving patients the best chance of surviving their disease", according to the lead investigator Rebecca Fitzgerald, a professor at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre.

"I think the more research done to monitor conditions like mine and the kinder the detection tests developed, the better".

This article has been republished from materials provided by Cancer Research UK.

Recognizing the importance of early detection in improving cancer survival, Cancer Research UK has made research into this area one of its top priorities and will invest more than £20 million a year in early detection research by 2019.

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