Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Breath may help diagnose infection


Researchers from Johns Hopkins University are developing a novel method of testing exhaled breath to detect infection rapidly after potential exposure to a biological warfare agent. They report their findings today at the 2005 ASM Biodefense Research Meeting.

"We want to have a tool that can help in the emergency room or first responders to triage on site so that people who are infected can get treatment first," says Joany Jackman, a researcher on the project. "It’s not so hard to sample breath from many people very quickly as it is to draw blood."

When exposed to disease causing organisms, cells in the body release proteins, called cytokines, to help the immune cells identify and fight the infection. Jackman and her colleagues theorized that cytokines might work their way up through the tissue until eventually they would be exhaled through water vapor in the breath, and could be captured and identified.

"Old medical texts, in the days long before sophisticated diagnostics, would recommend that a doctor check a patient by checking his or her breath, so we knew there must be something to it," says Jackman.

In previous studies, Jackman and her colleagues exposed pigs to different infectious agents and collected breath samples, which they condensed and ran through a mass spectrometer to test for cytokines and other proteins. They were able to detect a strong surge in cytokines in exhaled breath in as little as an hour, long before any visible symptoms appeared.

"However for this technology to be an effective diagnostic, immune markers which appear as a result of exposure to agents should be absent in uninfected populations," says Jackman.

To determine whether the cytokine levels could be differentiated from a healthy population, Jackman and co-investigator Nate Boggs purchased exhaled breath samples from swine housed at a commercial pig farm and analyzed the condensates.

"In all animals, immune markers of infection were at or below the limit of detection, indicating that baseline levels of immune markers in uninfected and apparently healthy populations could be expected to be low or undetectable," says Boggs.

Now that they have shown the concept of exhaled breath diagnostics to be viable, the next step is to move into human testing. Having determined in earlier studies that the early responses of cells to infection vary based on infectious agent, they hope to create cytokine profiles that will help identify specific diseases. They are also working on redesigning the breath collector with an eye towards getting it approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Jim Sliwa | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Bioluminescent sensor causes brain cells to glow in the dark
28.10.2016 | Vanderbilt University

nachricht Activation of 2 genes linked to development of atherosclerosis
28.10.2016 | Brigham and Women's Hospital

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Steering a fusion plasma toward stability

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Bioluminescent sensor causes brain cells to glow in the dark

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Activation of 2 genes linked to development of atherosclerosis

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>