Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Breath of Life: A New Diagnostic Technique

15.05.2006

A revolutionary breath analysis machine is going on trial in a clinical environment for the first time. The invention of Professor David Smith and Professor Patrik Spanel from Keele University’s Institute for Science and Technology in Medicine, in Staffordshire, is a revolutionary technique known as SIFT-MS, which works by measuring trace gases or metabolites present in the breath.

It is so sensitive that it is capable of detecting a single molecule amid several billion molecules of air, infinitely more sensitive than a standard breathalyser used for alcohol testing.

The technique has two major advantages over other ways of diagnosing illnesses: it is non–invasive, the patient simply breathes into a tube, making it particularly useful in paediatric medicine; and the results are available online and in real time, so the doctor can get a read out immediately.

Initially it will be used to study the breath of patients with renal disease, and help to identify how effective their treatment is; another key area where it will be used is in the study of children with respiratory illnesses like asthma and cystic fibrosis.

They were working in astro-physics studying interstellar space, when they realised their work could have a medical application, and they developed the technique known as SIFT-MS.

With the installation of two devices in this new patient facility at Keele University, their research will advance exponentially

Professor Smith said: “The development of the instrumentation and technology has had to take place through the analysis of the breath of volunteers. This is a critical thing you have to do anyway but with a new building we now will have the facility to bring in patients, sick patients, in labs which are properly prepared to receive patients and then to do on line real time analysis on the breath and hopefully diagnose particular disease states.”

And Professor Patrik Spanel added: “Already we can detect maybe 10 different metabolites present in breath of people like ammonia, asotome, isoprene, or some metabolites that are a clear marker of some disease like hydrogen cyanide and even these can actually serve as valuable markers of various conditions when they are elevated outside the normal range.”

Said Professor Smith: “The two main areas that our resident paediatricians in this area are interested in are asthma and cystic fibrosis in young people. So what we’ll be doing now with a new facility here to bring the children in and to look at the breath metabolites online and in real time and to look for molecules that are indicative of these diseases. The idea being that if you can do that simply and non-invasively you can monitor therapy. You can give them the appropriate drug for therapy and watch whether or not the disease is diminishing. This is the essential point about doing these tests now with this instrumentation online, it’s straightforward, it’s non-invasive.”

The sheer size of the machinery required was one of the limitations in developing this technique in the past, but now its down to a manoeuvrable size, and they think it could be reduced further in the future to the equivalent of a shoe box which could make wider distribution possible.

While clinical use is still in the early stages, breath analysis devices could be seen in every GP’s surgery, as a standard means of diagnosis.

Professor Smith said: “A major move would be into primary care, that is in the GP’s surgery for, for example screening the population for diseases such as diabetes. It is said that 10% of the population has diabetes. Many of which are undiagnosed. A breath test for asitome for example will pick this up in its early stage so we can imagine a small instrument in a GP’s surgery and any patient that came through could be measured whether they’re suspected or not of having this disease. A screening procedure in exactly the same way it is proposed that screening for breast cancer by x-ray is done.”

Chris Stone | alfa
Further information:
http://www.keele.ac.uk

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht 'Memtransistor' brings world closer to brain-like computing
22.02.2018 | Northwestern University

nachricht MRI technique differentiates benign breast lesions from malignancies
20.02.2018 | Radiological Society of North America

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>