Breath sample cancer detection trials in Cambridge to widen

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17/07/2017

Cambridge scientists will widen a cancer clinical trial to see if breath samples can be used to detect cancer in its early stages.

The large scale clinical trial will be carried out by researchers at the CRUK Cambridge Centre, the University of Cambridge and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in collaboration with Cambridge-based diagnostics company, Owlstone Medical.

As part of the trial, patients with a suspected cancer diagnosis referred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital for assessment through the standard NHS cancer care pathway will be asked to give a breath sample in addition to routine tests.

The samples will be collected in clinic using Owlstone Medical’s ReCIVA Breath Sampler, then sent to the world’s first breath biopsy clinical laboratory for analysis at Owlstone Medical's laboratory in Cambridge Science Park.

The trial will compare the breath samples of patients with and without cancer to assess whether breath contains reliable biomarkers that may be used in future to detect cancer earlier.

It aims to develop breath biopsy tests for the early detection of bladder, breast, head and neck, kidney, oesophageal, pancreatic and prostate cancers and brain tumours, with the ultimate aim of detecting and diagnosing cancer much earlier, when more treatment options are available and the chances of surviving are much higher.

Billy Boyle, co-founder and CEO at Owlstone Medical, said: “Positive results from the PAN Cancer trial could be game-changing in the fight against cancer: breath biopsy tests for cancer detection and diagnosis have the potential to greatly improve survival across a range of cancers.

"Our Breath Biopsy platform is already being assessed in large scale clinical trials for the non-invasive, early detection of lung and colon cancer, and it will be exciting to see how its use can be extended to other cancer types.

"Success in this study would make a real difference to the lives of millions of people, and supports our vision of saving 100,000 lives and $1.5 billion in healthcare costs."

One in two people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer at some stage in their lives, but more people are surviving the disease today than ever before.

Cancer survival has doubled since the early 1970s. But for some types of cancer, like pancreatic cancer, which is often diagnosed at an advanced stage, there has been little improvement in survival.


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