Don’t Hold Your Breath: Owlstone Medical Featured in Drug Discovery News
Published on: 9 Mar 2023, under Breath Biopsy
We are thrilled to see our research on the development of EVOC (Exogenous Volatile Organic Compound) probes for the detection of lung cancer, and our up-and-coming VOC (Volatile organic compounds) Atlas featured in an article by Drug Discovery News entitled “Don’t Hold Your Breath”.
Our Breath Biopsy technology is designed to measure and identify markers of disease on a patient’s breath, a technique that is already proving to be very promising. Breath Biopsy works by detecting and quantifying thousands of VOCs in the breath, with the aim to identify VOC signatures associated with diseases such as lung cancer, liver disease, and gastrointestinal disease. A revolutionary method of Breath Biopsy that Owlstone Medical is pioneering is the use of EVOC probes, which introduce an exogenous compound into the body of the patient to probe a specific metabolic pathway, which can then feedback in their breath. A promising example of this is the use of limonene to probe liver function, which is outlined in more detail in the article.
We are particularly excited to see our VOC Atlas highlighted in this article, as we are eager to share this with the community. Our VOC Atlas is a growing resource that documents the normal variation in approximately 150 VOCs detectable in the exhaled breath of a group of healthy participants. The ultimate goal of our VOC atlas is to provide a reference database to help researchers in the field establish normal VOC baselines, to allow for more confident separation of potential disease biomarkers from confounding compounds. This is a particular challenge of the field, illustrated powerfully in the article from a particular case study, where a promising VOC lead in fact turned out to be a contaminant from a hand wash used in a particular trial location. This demonstrates why establishing a baseline is crucial for statistically supported biomarkers of disease to be identified, and so we hope that our VOC atlas will be a growing resource over time.
We believe that we are at the forefront of breath biomarker research, and we are honored that our presence in the field has been recognized through the inclusion of our research in the recent Drug Discovery News article. Our team is dedicated to producing top-quality research, as well as the products and analytical expertise that supports this, and our progress with Breath Biopsy is a testament to this.
The potential of Breath Biopsy is hard to understate. We first set out on our mission to save 100,000 lives by focusing on the development of an early detection method for lung cancer. According to Cancer Research UK, lung cancer accounts for 13% of all new cancer diagnoses and is the 3rd most common type of cancer. Research shows that survival rates for cancer are significantly higher when detected early, and yet most people with lung cancer are diagnosed in the later stages when the survival rates are much lower. On top of this, the Breath Biopsy test is non-invasive compared to current methods of diagnosis which include blood tests and tissue biopsies. These types of tests can be distressing and have risks associated with their more invasive nature. Therefore, our breath testing has great potential to revolutionize cancer screening for earlier detection, as well as reduce costs for the healthcare system.
Here at Owlstone Medical we are dedicated to advancing the field of VOC analysis on the breath for use in the detection of disease, and we have the technical knowledge, international collaborations, and experience to be successful in a challenging, but ever-advancing field. We believe that Breath Biopsy is the future of diagnostic technology, and we welcome articles reporting on our exciting work. To read the full publication, including the article that we are featured in, please follow this link.