Breath Diagnostics Opportunities
The principal commercial target for the Oxford Medical Diagnostics proprietary PES, Laser and Broadband technologies is the monitoring of Type 1 diabetes.
Diabetes is a serious chronic illness that affects how the body uses food, and is a life threatening human disease if not treated. Persons with diabetes are at increased risk for debilitating complications such as renal failure, blindness, nerve damage, heart failure and vascular disease.
About 18.2 million Americans, 6.5% of the population, have diabetes. While an estimated 12 million have been diagnosed, about 6 million people (one third) are unaware that they have the disease – either because they have never been tested, or more seriously because the test they were given proved a ‘false negative’.
The World Health Organization reported that the global diabetic number was 171 million for the year 2000 and assessed the number for the year 2030 would be 336 million. The number of diabetes cases in the United States is increasing at about 5 percent each year, and is ranked as the sixth leading cause of death and disability, at a cost of $132 billion per year to healthcare providers. Demand for diabetes screening, monitoring and diagnostic products in the US is projected to be advancing at over 8 percent annually and will exceed $5.0 billion in 2010. The worldwide market is estimated to be worth in excess of $10 billion.
Non-invasive diagnosis of other Metabolic and Infectious Diseases
Besides its primary constituents – nitrogen, oxygen and water – exhaled human breath contains various metabolites that form in the body, become excreted into the blood plasma and equilibrated with the air in the lungs.
The major metabolite in breath is carbon dioxide (CO2) which is exhaled in a fraction equal to about 4% by volume of exhaled air. Although CO2 is not a disease marker, it plays an important role in breath, not least, in determining respiratory efficiency (i.e. the ratio of absorbed O2 to expired CO2). Such measurements can be indicative of impending stroke or heart failure.
The major endogenous trace gases found in exhaled breath and their average concentrations in healthy humans are set below
Concentration (parts per billion)
|Methane (CH4) ||2,000 – 10,000 |
|Ethane (C2H6) ||0 - 10 |
|Pentane (C5H12) ||0 - 10 |
|Nitric oxide (NO) ||0 - 50 |
|Carbon monoxide (CO) ||1,000 – 10,000 |
|Carbonyl sulphide (OCS) ||0- 10 |
|Nitrous oxide (N2O) ||0 - 20 |
|Isoprene (C5H8) ||50 - 200 |
|Ammonia (NH3) ||100 – 1,000 |
|Acetone ( (CH3)2CO ) ||100 – 1,000 |
Other diseases, which give rise to a breath diagnostic indicator include:
|Ammonia ||Renal Disease |
|Sulfur Compounds ||Hepatic Diseases / Lung Cancer |
|Nitric Oxide ||Asthma and Pulmonary Diseases |
|Ethane ||Lipid Peroxidation / Schizophrenia |
|Pentane ||Breast Cancer / Rheumatoid Arthritis |
|Acetaldehyde ||Alcoholism / Lung Cancer |
|Methane ||Colonic Fermentation / Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth |
|Volatile Fatty Acids ||Anaerobic Bacterial Infections / Tuberculosis |
Head-space Analysis – bacterial detection
Oxford Medical Diagnostics is also exploring new methods to detect and characterise air-borne and surface bacteria by the analysis of head-space gases given off as bacterial samples are incubated.
The rapid, automated detection of bacterial species such as MRSA and Clostridium difficile provides a significant commercial target.