How can our breath serve as a diagnostic tool for diseases? Breath analysis is an emerging field that has the potential to reveal a wealth of health-related information. One key component of our breath is volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which serve as effective biomarkers for various diseases. Owlstone Medical, a UK-based company, is pioneering a non-invasive diagnostic platform known as “Breath Biopsy.” Developed in collaboration with healthcare researchers and medical professionals, this platform leverages the diagnostic capabilities of VOCs to enable early detection of a range of conditions, including various cancers, respiratory illnesses, and autoimmune diseases.
The concept of using breath to diagnose illness isn’t new; it traces its roots back to ancient Greece, where odors from the breath were often used as indicators of disease. While these historical practices lack scientific validation, today’s techniques are far more sophisticated. According to Marc van der Schee, Ph.D., the Head of Clinical at Owlstone Medical, “VOCs are essentially metabolic byproducts generated by cellular activity and microbial populations in your body. These compounds also reflect your environmental exposures, making your breath an incredibly rich source of health data.”
This article aims to shed light on how cutting-edge breath analysis techniques offer promising avenues for early disease detection.