New research from Owlstone Medical presented at #BBCon22

Published on: 14 Nov 2022, under Breath Biopsy

The Breath Biopsy Conference 2022 brought the global breath research community to discuss and celebrate the exciting progress being made around the world in our field. More than 600 people registered to join us from over 70 countries, building upon the success of previous year’s Breath Biopsy Conferences. 

#BBCon22 Programme snippet Attendees heard two days of talks, from many leading researchers, and 25 posters were submitted for presentation at this year’s event – a new record. The presentations, poster sessions and ‘Ask the Expert’ panel discussion are now available to watch, or re-watch, on demand at your convenience.




Owlstone’s research at the Breath Biopsy Conference 2022

We’re always delighted by the breadth and quality of the talks and posters that are presented at BBCon. At this years’s conference, alongside the external speakers from around the world, there were also two presentations and five posters that showcased some of the research that we’ve been doing at Owlstone Medical, alongside our collaborators, over the last year. You can catch up on these posters and presentations, including Q&As, below:


Introducing Owlstone’s Breath VOC ATLAS: identification of breath VOCs with TD-GC-Orbitrap Spectrometry

Hear from Wisenave and Ace:

Wisenave Arulvasan and Ace Hatch introduced Owlstone Medical’s Breath VOC ATLAS; an ever-growing list of VOCs that exist on breath, differentiated from background contamination, and found repeatedly in a human population.

They discussed how the VOC ATLAS paves the way for a breath VOC measurement platform with superior precision and reproducibility; attributes that are pivotal to biomarker discovery. The VOC ATLAS enables the pooling of breath data and thus the ability to derive powerful biological insight to the breath matrix while also guiding study designs based on the known behaviour of VOCS in a population.



Targeting tumour associated aldo-keto reductase with exogenous volatile organic compound (EVOC) Probes using High-Capacity Sorptive Extraction (HiSorb) headspace GCMS to detect lung cancer

Hear from Alexandra:

Lung cancers cope with oxidative stress by upregulating aldo-keto reductase (AKR) enzymes including AKR1B10 and AKR1B15 that reduce aldehydes into alcohols. Alexandra Martin presented our recent in vitro work investigating the possibility of a cancer breath test based on monitoring AKR activity via volatile aldehydes and alcohols.

We measured AKR1B10/B15 activity in vitro in lung cancer cells by administering aldehydes as exogenous volatile organic compound (EVOC) Probes and monitoring alcohol production. Results found that alcohol/aldehyde ratio appeared to reflects AKR activity in cancer cells. The same approach may be suitable for lung cancer detection on breath.

 View related poster

Further Owlstone Medical research posters presented at BBCon

Changes in exhaled volatile organic compounds following iron supplementation in self-reported healthy adults

Presented by Nabeetha Nagalingam in our Day 1 Poster session, this research aims to explore whether other gases are associated with oral iron supplementation, based on changes in exhaled volatile organic compounds (VOCs) after 28 days of iron supplementation. Samples were taken at four time points over 28 days, including a baseline sample. Data showed significant changes, with iron supplementation overall appearing to be beneficial.


Using chemical ionisation in the identification of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) on breath

Presented by Brett O’Brien, also as part of the Day 1 Poster session, the ‘Candle Study’ aimed to investigate VOCs associated with lung inflammation induced by acute exposure to emissions from different candles. Fifteen molecular features (MFs) in exhaled breath showed statistically significant differences between the pre-exposure and immediate post-exposure samples from 17 Asthmatic patients. Samples were re-analysed by GCMS in positive chemical ionisation (PCI) mode, generating robust pseudomolecular ion (M+H) signals for eight of the identified MFs, demonstrating the ability of CI analysis to aid the structural identification and elucidation of VOC biomarkers on breath.


Breath-based detection of lung cancer using Exogenous Volatile Organic Compound targeting β-glucuronidase in the tumor microenvironment

Presented by our collaborator Robert Rintoul, of the Department of Oncology, University of Cambridge, during the Day 2 Poster session, this study used animal, in vitroin vivo and clinical work to assess the viability of D5-EthGlu as a EVOC Probe in human lung cancers. Our evidence appears to support the application of D5-EthGlu as an EVOC Probe to enable non-invasive breath testing as a means for early detection of lung cancer via public screening.


Identifying and characterizing VOCs in exhaled breath from SARS-CoV-2 positive individuals

Shared as part of the Day 2 Poster session at #BBCon22, we worked with our partners at Nanoscent to attempt to identify specific exhaled VOCs that contributed to signals associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection, using our Breath Biopsy technology. Patients provided breath samples using ReCIVA® Breath Sampler which were analyzed using the Breath Biopsy OMNI® process in the Breath Biopsy Laboratory. Two candidate biomarkers were identified. Eight of the top 20 candidate biomarkers were alkanes, thought to result from metabolism associated with inflammation.


Looking for more cutting-edge breath research? You can watch the other presentations from BBCon22, on demand, at your convenience. You can also sign up now to receive updates about next year’s event.


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