Collaborative project with Flinders University “blow in a bag” breath test for cancer

Prof Andre LuitenFlinders University Researcher Dr Roger Yazbek, who is collaborating on an ARC Linkage grant with Prof Andre Luiten on cancer detection, has recently had the following article published in The Advertiser on their research “blow in the bag” breath test for cancer.

They hope the relatively cheap, non-invasive and rapid tests will eventually be similar to breast screening tests, giving an early warning for people who return a positive result to seek further testing.

Flinders University researcher Dr Roger Yazbek is leading the innovative project at the Flinders School of Medicine Breath Analysis Research Laboratory.

He noted that many people think expelled breath is simply carbon dioxide but he said it could carry clues to a range of cancers.

“With more than 2000 compounds in a single human breath, there is plenty of information there about the state of our health,” he said.

“We are developing a comprehensive breath analysis program which covers a range of things including cancers and the results so far are very promising.

“We are still at the laboratory research stage but in the near future hope to extend to clinical trials.

“We have started collecting breath samples from a range of patients to identify a range of biomarkers for cancer — once we have this data, we will conduct validation trials to roll out some of the first tests, perhaps in less than five years.”

The project is initially focusing on gastrointestinal conditions such as stomach cancer and oesophageal cancer. About 1300 and 2000 Australians are diagnosed with these cancers respectively each year.

Dr Yazbek noted the symptoms of oesophageal cancer manifested late, and an early warning test would save lives.

The breath tests use both passive and active tests. The passive tests measures the various compounds a person exhales, looking for clues to health problems.

The active tests involves giving a person a liquid that interacts with an enzyme unique to a cancer, then checking to see if the exhaled breath carries the telltale resulting biomarker.

The research team intend to expand the project to develop a test for inflammatory bowel disease.

They also are collaborating with University of Adelaide and Women’s and Children’s

Hospital to develop novel breath analysis tools to manage other serious conditions, including cystic fibrosis, neurodegenerative diseases and general gut disorders.

Dr Yazbek emphasised that the new technique would not replace existing tests.

“For oesophageal cancer, you would target those most at risk due to age and lifestyle, much like breast screening, and if there was a positive result you would refer them for further traditional tests,” he said.

“A rapid, simple and non-invasive tool would help to guide better clinical management, avoiding repeated and costly invasive tissue testing which also significantly impacts patients’ quality of life.”

A proof-of-concept paper, In Vitro Development and Validation of a Non-Invasive 13C-Stable Isotope Assay for Ornithine Decarboxylase (ODC), was recently published in the Journal of Breath Research, describing how ODC in human breath can be used as a potential prognostic marker for oesophageal cancer.

Article written by The Advertiser

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Posted on May 19, 2016, in IPASnews, Media, ResearchNews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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