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Scientists In UK Developing Breathalyser Cancer Detector

A form breathalyzer not related to the new device. [IMAGE/ COURTESY]

A form breathalyzer not related to the new device. [IMAGE/ COURTESY]
Most cancer cases are detected at advanced stages, which makes treatment a bit hard hence the escalated cases of cancer deaths in the world.

However, this could be a thing of the past if scientist succeed it trials of a new Breath Biopsy device is being trialled in the UK.

The device is designed to detect cancer signs in molecules exhaled by patients.

The trials being done at at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge will first focus on oesophageal and stomach cancers.

The trials will later be extended to include those suspected to have prostate, kidney, bladder, liver and pancreatic cancers.

According to reports by the Sky, the hospital iscurrently recruiting 1,500 people for the two-year trial. Some will be healthy and others will be cancer patients.

Billy Boyle, co-founder and chief executive of British company Owlstone Medical, which is behind the device, says that if successful, the device will present a non-invasive mode of testing for cancer.

“The concept of providing a whole-body snapshot in a completely non-invasive way is very powerful and could reduce harm by sparing patients from more invasive tests they don’t need,” says Boyle.

Lead investigator Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald, from the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre, said: “We urgently need to develop new tools, like this breath test, which could help to detect and diagnose cancer earlier, giving patients the best chance of surviving their disease.

“Through this clinical trial we hope to find signatures in breath needed to detect cancers earlier. It’s the crucial next step in developing this technology.”

Currently, cancer can be diagnosed through physical examination, laboratory tests, such as urine and blood tests, imaging tests and biopsy.

Cancer is among the leading causes of death worldwide. In 2012, there were 14.1 millionnew cases and 8.2 million cancer-related deaths worldwide.

Read: Cancer Patients Spent Ksh1 Billion For Treatment From NHIF In 2016/17 FY

In 2016, 8.9 million people are estimated to have died from the various forms of cancer, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).

Tracheal, bronchus, and lung cancer claimed the largest number of lives at more than 1.7 million in one year. Stomach cancer, colon, rectum, and liver cancer, all with a similar number of deaths, claimed around 830,000 lives globally in 2016.

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Written by Francis Muli

Follow me on Twitter @francismuli_. Email francis@kahawatungu.com

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