In the near future, you may be able to breathe into a machine and learn if you have lung cancer.
Mountain View-based Metabolomx has developed a breath test which can detect specific biomarkers produced by a cancerous tumor.
“The accuracy of the identification of lung cancer is 85 percent which compares favorably with any existing method of detecting the presence of lung cancer,” said Paul Rhodes Ph.D. CEO of Metabolomx.
Doctors at Cleveland Clinic recently completed clinical trials on the five minute test and found it can differentiate between different types of lung cancer.
“The signature we find in the breath tells us a little bit about how that cancer is behaving. So a different type of cancer, one that is aggressive versus one that is a bit quieter will probably produce a different signature,” said Dr. Peter Mazone who led the clinical trial at Cleveland Clinic.
The test can also detect lung cancer in its early stages when it is much easier to treat. The test could also potentially reduce the number of people who need to have a CT scan.
“We think it is a very good pre-screening tool to identify who gets a CT scan because they do have a certain amount of radiation," said Rhodes.
The test may also one day be sued with a CT scan to determine if a patient really needs a surgical lung biopsy.
Metabolomx is now working on developing other tests using the same technology that may one day help detect colon cancer and tuberculosis.