UW researchers build cancer detection device based on exhaled air
Lung cancer and breast cancer are the most common cancers in men and women, respectively. For effective therapy, the most important thing is early detection of these diseases. What if in a few minutes, with the help of an easy-to-use apparatus, it would be possible to check whether a patient has a medical condition and decide on the necessary further diagnosis?? Just such a device is being constructed at the Institute of Experimental Physics of the Faculty of Physics of the University of Warsaw.
The equipment being developed, whichówhich in the cróThe device, which analyzes the air exhaled by humans in a short period of time, can significantly increase the chances of survival for tens of thousands of patientsów, because so many people die of malignant tumors annually due to too póa misdiagnosis. A condition for the success of the project, however, is funding, about whichóre now soliciting scientists.
syndromesół prof. dr. hab. Tadeusz Stacewicz of the Department of Optics at the Institute of Experimental Physics at the UW’s Institute of Experimental Physics has for many years conducted research involving the use of laserów for biomarker detectionów (biological indicators of the state ofóin disease) in exhaled air. Successfully developed effective methods and equipment for detection of m.in. Ammonia, whichóThe presence of which indicates the presence of bacteria Helicobacter pylori, Carbon monoxide – for lung diseases, or methane – in intestinal problems.
In 2017. The latest research project has begun, whichóry focuses on identifying formaldehyde, ethane and other volatile compoundsóin organic, któr which excessive presence in exhaled air is associated with cancer, especially lung and breast cancer. Formal completion of the project is planned for mid-2021., However, the first results will appear much earlier.
– A non-invasive, simple, effective yet inexpensive screening device could reverse theóThe laboratory set has been developed in cooperation with scientists from the Tadeusz Stacewicz Signal Detection Team. Therefore, work has been intensifying for several years toward the use of laser spectroscopy and other techniques to detect biomarkeróin serious diseasesób (including cancer) in human exhaled air. Our device would allow detection of formaldehyde within minutes. At the same time, its cost should not exceed the cost of buying a dental chair. Therefore, it could stand in an internist’s office and be used for screening on a massive scale – mówi prof. dr hab. Tadeusz Stacewicz.
Research work on the detection of formaldehyde and ethane, as well as previous research work in the area of biomarker determinationóin exhaled air, are conducted by the team ofół prof. dr hab. Tadeusz Stacewicz in cooperation withóhe cooperation with scientists from the Signal Detection Teamóin the Institute of Optoelectronics at the Military University of Technology. WAT has developed a m.in. próbek, whoóry meets medical standards.
A laboratory kit developed by the teamóprof. Dr. hab. Tadeusz Stacevich will make it possible to conduct preliminary research work. However, for further advanced testingóin need of additional funding at the level of approx. PLN 10 million. They will allow the construction of a prototypeóin equipment and to carry out specificóThe research is being conducted on the usefulness of the device in medical applications. Research planned under the project to date is still limited in scope.
Difficulties in finding funding for the project gave birth to the idea of creating a spóspin-off companies, whichóra would make it easier for scientists to raise fundsóIn 2017, an effective formaldehyde detector would be used not only in medicineóin, specialistóin marketing and employeeóin administrative. These activities are supported by the University Technology Transfer Center UW. – An effective formaldehyde detector would have applications not only in medicine. Industry and environmental protection are also potential application areas. Formaldehyde is used m.in. in the manufacture of furniture, and since it is harmful to health, the European Union has announced the introduction of standards for this compound. If this happens, meters will be needed, które will provide reproducible results and sufficient sensitivity, whichórej are not provided by simple electronic meters available commercially – mówi Dr. Robert Dwilinski, director of UOTT UW.
Technological advances in recent years have resulted in the development of rapid and precise analytical methods, whichóre have applications in medicine. Of great interest are in particular the so-called “breath tests”. non-invasive methods, i.e. allowing detection of biomarkers in saliva or just in exhaled air. There is great potential in the study of human exhaled air – Substances produced by biochemical processes enter the blood, and then enter the exhaled air through the lungs.
Thanks to studies of the composition of the air exhaled by sick people and cfówn comparing it with the breath of healthy people, it has been possible to establish that the presence or changes in the concentrations of certain substances can be associated with specific diseases. Initially, the technique used for this was gas chromatography. It allows the determination of even trace amounts of many substances in exhaled air, whichóre are produced in metabolic processes. Some of them can be considered biomarkers. The disadvantage of gas chromatography, however, is the relatively long waiting time for results. In addition, this method does not work well for formaldehyde. Therefore, the search for other methods has begun – One of them is laser spectrometry.
– Until now, formaldehyde detection has been possible with gas chromatography. However, this is not the optimal wayób detection of this volatile organic compound. The results are not always conclusive. Besides, although gas chromatography as a method has high sensitivity, it would be difficult to use it for screening. A single test takes about póIt takes an hour and a half and is associated with higher costs, since expensive equipment and a trained laboratory technician are needed. Our proposal will be many times faster and cheaper, possible to use in virtually any doctor’s office – móM.Sc. Mateusz Winkowski, a doctoral student at the Department of Optics at the Institute of Experimental Physics of the UW, and a member of Prof. Dr. J. K. S. M.’s team. Dr. hab. Tadeusz Stacevich.
Launching a project focused on detecting formaldehyde using laserów was made possible by advances in optoelectronics. Lasers for a specific wavelength tailored to the spectra of the above-mentioned compounds have appeared on the marketów, in particularólarity small lasers póhe solid-state, uncomplicatedly poweredób. The world’s best near- and mid-infrared photodetectors, manufactured in Poland by VIGO, also played an important role. All of this has made it possible to build a relatively inexpensive and simple sensor for detecting biomarkersów (m.in. formaldehyde) using a laser.
From the patient is taken próbc of exhaled air. The device performs measurements based on the attenuation of light intensity at a specific wavelength. Ultra-sensitive measurement methods using lasers allow detection of volatile compoundsóin organic substances and their concentrations. The developed solution reduces the testing time to a few minutes and lowers the cost of testing in porównaniu to gas chromatography. Patient examination is, of course, painless and non-invasive.
Screening is a massively conducted test thatóre allow to effectively identify the patientóIn sick patients or those in the so-called. Risks. They are of great importance especially in the case of osób those reluctant to see a doctor or going for treatment too póIt is difficult when the stage of the disease is advanced. According to the National Cancer Registryów cancer incidence in Poland has more than doubled over the past 30 years. Malignant tumors are the second cause of deathóin the country. Annually kill more than 100,000. osób. Lung cancer and breast cancer are the most common cancers in men and women, respectively.