We are mostly recovered from the 2018 International Association of Breath Research (IABR) Breath Summit in Maastricht and have now had a little time to digest what we saw, heard and discussed. It was great to meet so many members of the breath research community, and to watch so many interesting talks covering diverse aspects of breath research, ranging from looking for biomarkers relating to hypoxia in jet pilots, to the collection and analysis of breath from dolphins.
The conference provided an interesting snapshot of the state of breath research, and it was good to see progression and development in the field in areas relating to technology, standardization and the use of statistics.
Anton Amann Award
The highlight of the week was of course the announcement of the Anton Amann Award. After frenzied last minute betting amongst delegates, we were happy to see that despite the stiff competition, Jane Hill of Dartmouth College was the deserving recipient. Prof. Hill’s plenary lecture covered her extensive work looking for biomarkers relating to infectious disease in human and animal studies.
This year’s Breath Summit also brought more information on the peppermint benchmarking protocol presented by Ben Henderson and Dahlia Salman of Loughborough University. Prioritized by the IABR joint task force in 2016, the peppermint study was launched as an approach to compare different breath sampling and analysis techniques. The benchmarking involves comparing results from longitudinal breath samples collected from individuals after the oral administration of a peppermint capsule. So far there are 10 groups participating and initial results are due to be released later in 2018. Don’t worry though, there is still time to sign up - contact Dahlia Salman at Loughborough University (D.Salman@lboro.ac.uk)!
Standardization and Validation in the Breath Field
A key topic at this year’s Breath Summit was the need to standardize breath sampling and analysis techniques to increase comparability between different studies - the Sampling and Standardization Taskforce are continuing their important work. Jochen Schubert’s plenary lecture highlighted some of the problems that arise from the incorrect use of statistics, and there was general agreement that statistical approaches to analyze breath data should take into account the number of features being analyzed. In addition, there is a need to validate using a second sample set, ideally blinded, in order to have confidence in the results.
ReCIVA® Breath Sampler in the Field
For us, the most exciting aspect of the conference was to see how our Breath Biopsy technology is being used “in the wild”. We were delighted to see so many presentations featuring data from breath collected using the ReCIVA Breath Sampler. This included Sean Harshman at US Air Force Research, Georgia Woodfield and Ilaria Belluomo at Imperial College London, Ben Henderson and Dahlia Salman from the East Midlands Breath Node, Charlotte Pauwels, Agnieska Smolinska and Agnes Boots at Maastricht University, and Max Wilkinson and Iain White at Manchester University.
Feedback from the Breath Research Community
With so many researchers using the ReCIVA Breath Sampler attending the conference, the event provided a great opportunity for some of our engineers and chemists to get out of the lab and meet some users face-to-face. We got lots of useful feedback from researchers working at the breath “coalface”. We had some great suggestions for things people would like to see in future versions of the ReCIVA Breath Sampler and the software, but we are keen to continue receiving feedback so please drop us an email at email@example.com if you have any feedback.
Visit us at the first Breath Biopsy Conference in November
Alternatively why not give us feedback directly at the first ever Breath Biopsy Conference on the 8th November 2018. It is being held at Owlstone Medical HQ in Cambridge, UK and will be a great opportunity to see some more fantastic speakers from the breath research field and meet researchers using the ReCIVA Breath Sampler. We’ll also be including a tour of our Breath Biopsy® Clinical Laboratory and a poster session where you can share your own results with other researchers in the Breath community.