Pedro Vaz at BBCon 2023
A Pragmatic Approach For Lung Cancer Screening Using Exhaled Breath In A Clinical Setting.
00:00 ‘A Pragmatic Approach For Lung Cancer Screening Using Exhaled Breath In A Clinical Setting’
21:55 Question and Answer Session
Lung cancer is hardly detected at early stages. The rate for lung cancer detection at stage I is as low as 25%, which finds a correlation with the high number of deaths in patients with lung cancer as most cases are detected at later stages with much lower survival rates. For those with stage I disease, the chance of cure may reach 70%. As such, every methodology that can contribute to assisting in the identification/screening of lung cancer cases at an early stage must be a mandatory goal when developing screening programs. This is key as the incidence is forecasted to increase by 70+% by 2040 compared to 2020, according to GloboCan data.
Although established protocols for screening are set firefighting against cancer should not be the core aim of our efforts. Instead, Early Detection and Diagnosis (ED&D) must be the priority tool at the earliest clinically onset yielding much better chance of cure and survival with a concomitantly improved quality of life to patients.
With this ambition, new and innovative approaches to screen lung cancer through, of which analysis of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) in exhaled breath air is promising. From the set of compounds, a few are key components, denoted biomarkers, but that has proven hard to attain. A more pragmatic approach adopted at Champalimaud Foundation looks at the complete profiles, with rewarding results so far and an ED&D tool starts to be envisaged.
Pedro graduated in Chemistry with specialization in organic chemistry. Still as undergraduate he worked in the USA under supervision of Prof. Rudolph Abramovitch (Clemson University, USA), on a NATO sponsored project. A PhD in Chemistry at the University of Aveiro (Portugal) followed focusing on structural characterization (vibrational and neutron spectroscopy, mass spectrometry and quantum simulations) and intermolecular interactions in dynamical systems. In the 2008-2015 period, he held positions as a staff researcher at the University of Lisbon, Portugal and at the ISIS Neutron & Muon Facility, UK. In 2015 he moved into the private sector serving as scientific director at SGS Portugal, an inspection and quality assurance multinational. In parallel, he is a consultant for companies across different sectors, such as phytopharmaceuticals (Ascenza, Portugal), precision machining (Argobaum, Portugal) and lab design and construction (ERT, Portugal), which are still ongoing. In 2018 Pedro joined Champalimaud Foundation as researcher at the Lung Unit where he is leading the development of early diagnostics for lung cancer using exhaled breath analysis. From 2020 onwards, he is head scientist at Tellspec Inc. (Canada/UK), implementing and validating spectroscopy solutions for non-invasive chemical analysis with applications in the health sector. Pedro gave invited to lecture at UPMC, Sorbonne (Paris, France), Osaka Prefecture University (Osaka, Japan) and King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (Thuwal, Saudi Arabia). Since 2019 he is an elected fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, UK.