Owlstone Medical to Join EU-Funded EPHOR Consortium to Advance Occupational Health Science in Order to Reduce Disease Burden from Workplace Exposure
Published on: 10 Dec 2019, under Breath Biopsy
Owlstone Medical will receive funding to deploy Breath Biopsy® as part of EPHOR
Cambridge, UK, December 10 2019: Owlstone Medical, the global leader in Breath Biopsy® for applications in early disease detection and precision medicine, today announced it has joined the EU-funded Exposome Project for Health and Occupational Research (EPHOR). The consortium aims to further elucidate the complex relationships between environment and disease by developing the concept of the ‘working-life exposome’, which takes into account all occupational and related non-occupational exposures (e.g. lifestyle) throughout the lifespan of an individual. Owlstone Medical will receive funding from the project to provide Breath Biopsy Collection Stations and Kits for the collection of breath samples and will perform analysis on samples received.
EPHOR brings together an exceptional consortium of exposure, health and data scientists, and technology partners in order to develop knowledge, methods and tools to characterize the working-life exposome at a far deeper level than has previously been attempted. The consortium will combine large-scale pooling of existing data (>40 cohorts; ~ 21 million people) and systematically look at a wide range of exposures and diseases. The information generated will be made available via a ‘working-life toolbox’, allowing scientists to use and enhance the data, methods and models currently in use in exposome research.
Simultaneously, new data will be generated, particularly in the area of respiratory disease, by comparing the exposome and health status of workers in a range of industries with that of the general population. Through this effort, in combination with similar data obtained from blood, non-invasive exposome biomarkers on breath will be developed to enable monitoring of lung health and burden of exposure.
Exposures in the workplace can lead to many forms of disease including cancer, cardiovascular, and respiratory disease, and the total global burden of disease caused by occupational exposures is estimated at 5-7%, similar to the burden resulting from urban air pollution or obesity. Ensuring a healthy work environment is therefore an important goal for government and industry, however such policies are currently limited to what can be concluded from existing scientific evidence.
Billy Boyle, co-founder and CEO at Owlstone Medical, said: “Environmental exposures, including those from the workplace, are known to have a tremendous impact on the start and progression of disease. The EPHOR project promises to directly address this problem, contributing to reducing the burden of workplace exposure on healthcare systems and helping to improve the general health and wellbeing of the population.” He continued, “The EPHOR project, similar to the recently announced 3TR IMI2 Immunology Project1, demonstrates that Breath Biopsy is becoming a standard component of disease research and biomarker discovery, and that Owlstone Medical is the clear leader in the ability to provide this capability.”
Notes to Editors:
EPHOR partner organizations:
For more information on Owlstone Medical please contact:
Sarah Jeffery, Zyme Communications
+44 (0) 7771-730919
Frazer Hall, Citigate Dewe Rogerson
+44 (0) 20 7282 2822
For more information on EPHOR please contact:
Dr. IR. Anjoeka Pronk
+31 88 866 33 02
What is the working-life exposome?
The exposome has been defined as the totality of exposure individuals experience over their lives and how those exposures affect health. The EPHOR project defines the working-life exposome as all occupational and related non-occupational exposures (e.g. lifestyle). This concept, which takes into account all relevant exposures throughout the lifespan of an individual, is a promising concept for elucidating the complex relationships between environment and disease. Taking a working-life exposome approach means a great step forward for occupational health science that has the potential to address the current limitations of available information, providing better insights in how occupational exposures are related to disease so that better policy decision making can take place in government and industry.
What is Breath Biopsy®?
Breath Biopsy represents an entirely new way to measure the chemical makeup of breath by measuring volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are gaseous molecules that can be sampled quickly and non-invasively from breath and enabling whole-body sampling. These compounds are produced as the end product of metabolic processes within the body, meaning underlying changes in metabolic activity can produce particular patterns of VOCs characteristic of specific diseases.
VOCs originating from all parts of the body are captured in breath, making Breath Biopsy applicable to a wide range of diseases including cancer, inflammatory disease, infectious disease, metabolic disease, cardiovascular disease and respiratory disease. The nature of Breath Biopsy, and VOC biomarkers, make them perfectly suited to addressing two of the major challenges of healthcare today: early detection and precision medicine.
Breath collection is carried out using Owlstone Medical’s ReCIVA® Breath Sampler, which ensures reliable, reproducible collection of VOCs. Subjects breathe a controlled supply of air, and samples of their exhaled breath are captured and stabilized on Breath Biopsy Cartridges, which can then be shipped for analysis with Owlstone Medical’s Breath Biopsy analytical platform, using mass spectrometry or FAIMS to determine their VOC profile. Advanced data analytic techniques can then be applied in order to pinpoint the VOCs of interest.