Science & Technology

Cutting edge scientific research and technical innovation underpin our instruments and services

There’s an urgent and growing need to improve early diagnosis and therapy selection

Owlstone Medical's aim is to use our disease breathalyzer and VOC biomarker detection technology to save lives by improving non‑invasive diagnostics for cancer, infectious & inflammatory diseases.

VOC biomarkers

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from a patients breath, urine or other clinical samples provide a picture of a person's metabolism, which can be used to diagnose diseases before other physical symptoms become apparent. Measurement of VOCs has many advantages over other types of diagnosis.

  • They can be collected non-invasively from breath.
  • VOC biomarkers are present even at the earliest stage of a disease and directly reflect real time disease activity 
  • Drug metabolites can also be detected, allowing treatment to be monitored.

Learn about VOC biomarkers

Why breath?

Due to the rapid exchange of air between the lungs and the circulatory system, a person’s entire blood supply is sampled for VOCs once every minute so within a short window a comprehensive measurement of a person’s current metabolite status can be collected.

  • Every time you breath out there are hundreds of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) on your breath.
  • VOCs provide a real-time and objective snapshot of current medical state.
Learn about breath biopsy

The FAIMs microchip powers all of Owlstone's technology, providing disease diagnosis via chemical detection

Learn about FAIMS technology

Research case studies

Owlstone’s technology can detect volatile metabolites in breath at part per billion levels. These tests are non-invasive for the patient, but more importantly are highly sensitive and selective as VOCs are produced in the earliest stages of a broad range of diseases including cancer, infectious and inflammatory disease.

Bring VOC biomarker research to your own lab with our complete range of R&D instruments

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