Groundbreaking technology aides in lung cancer detection


by Claudia Coffey

Posted on February 11, 2014 at 7:27 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Imagine diagnosing someone with lung cancer with a simple breath test.

It’s the goal behind groundbreaking research at the University of Louisville.

165 patients were studied and 109 tested positive for lung cancer.

The technology behind the study is smaller than a dime. It’s a tiny microchip developed at the University of Louisville.

This technology may hold the key to diagnosing deadly lung cancer all with a simple breath analysis.

“What we decided to do was collect a single exhale of breath. Not breathing in and out but one time, fill up the bag with one breath," Dr. Michael Bousamra, Associate Professor of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery said.

Dr. Bousamra and other researchers from the University of Louisville examined 165 patients in test study with a simple breath in a bag.

"It didn't seem to matter what you ate, whether you brushed your teeth before or not or you just smoked because we identified the compounds that were specific for cancer,” Dr. Bousamra said.

The compounds were then transferred to a tiny chip and analyzed from there.

The results were astounding.

Patients with an elevation of three or four cancer specific carbonyl compounds were predictive of lung cancer in 95 percent of patients with a detected mass.

“Rather than focus on these hundreds of compounds, let's just focus on a few that we can analyze well and closely and figure out what their concentration are," Dr. Bousamra said.

Researchers say the promise this tool holds is endless. It can help patients avoid invasive biopsy procedures when a suspicious lesion is found or direct which patients need immediate surgery.