News Item
Oct 28, 2021

Healthcare providers globally are increasingly looking towards Breath Analysis as a potential new, non-invasive way of screening for and diagnosing health conditions. In current circumstances where respiratory conditions are prevalent, this need cannot be over-emphasised.

Imspex’s BreathSpec® uses gas chromatography coupled with ion-mobility spectrometry (GC-IMS), combining the high discernment of chromatographic separation with highly specific detection. This is a very accurate method of quantitative analysis.

It is a non-invasive way of analysing breath when screening patients and aiding in the diagnosis of disease. BreathSpec® has had particular success detecting respiratory diseases both infectious and non-communicable.

One of the earliest uses of BreathSpec® was to detect lung cancer. Typically, lung cancer is diagnosed by taking a biopsy from a patient’s lung or a mass found during a scan. The process and evaluation of these biopsies can be costly, time consuming and often anxiety-inducing for the patient and their family. BreathSpec® proposes analysing volatile organic compounds from breath that could potentially identify early stage lung cancer. It is a non-invasive procedure that can produce results in minutes and result in faster, more effective treatment for patients with lung cancer or chronic respiratory conditions.

Exhaled breath is largely made up of nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide and water. The remainder of the breath is made up of trace substances that are either generated by the body or absorbed from the environment around us. These are either inhaled into and absorbed through the lungs or absorbed through the skin. Thus the measurement of VOCs in breath can provide a window into the processes of the body. For the pattern of breath VOCs of patients with lung cancer to be unique, the biochemical processes that lead to their generation or metabolism must be different in lung cancer patients than in those without lung cancer.

When it comes to coronavirus, our studies have shown sensitivity of 90% and specificity of 80% in detecting Covid-19. Furthermore, BreathSpec’s accuracy has been deemed as good as or better than standard of care evaluations when identifying Covid-19. These studies mean that BreathSpec® could be used globally to prevent the spread of Covid-19, particularly at airports with travel being a particular area of concern. Imspex Medical’s in-house expertise gives it the capability to produce a machine that can withstand high volumes in a medical setting or for mass screening situations.

BreathSpec’s analytical processes applied to Breath Analysis will allow us to more accurately identify the unique constituents of the breath. This could translate into a better understanding of the pathobiology of respiratory diseases and streamline clinical management pathways for respiratory conditions.