World’s first breathalyser test which can detect cancer trialled on UK patients
3rd January 2019

The world’s first breath test which can detect cancer is being tried out on 1,500 more UK patients.

Manufacturers of the Breath Biopsy claim it could save 10,000 lives a year if introduced nationwide – and save the NHS £245million a year by 2020.

The two-year Cancer Research trial is recruiting 1,500 suspected cancer patients and healthy people to test the device at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.

Initially patients with oesophageal and stomach cancers will be tested before it is extended to prostate, kidney, bladder, liver and pancreatic cancers.


Lead investigator Prof Rebecca Fitz­gerald, from the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre, said: “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.”

The trial will be the third in Britain. It is already being tested in 20 hospitals.

If the technology is shown to be reliable and accurate, cancer breathalysers could become common in GP surgeries.

The non-invasive test aims to detect signs of cancer in airborne molecules when the disease is still at an early stage.

Early detection is a major factor in improving survival rates.

The device is the idea of Cambridge academic Billy Boyle, whose wife, Kate Gross, died from cancer at the age of 36.

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