Breath Tests in Medicine
Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010
01:00 - 03:00 PM Room: 311H

Facilitators:
Michael Phillips

Description:
Volatile biomarkers of disease have been recognized since ancient times. Even today, physicians smell their patients’ breath for the tell-tale aroma of acetone in uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, and the fishy tang of trimethylamine in renal failure. But the doctor’s nose is now being replaced by new technologies to detect volatile organic compounds, such as gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy, and electronic nose arrays. Breath testing for biomarkers of disease is making the transition from benchtop to bedside. Their advantages are obvious: breath tests are non-invasive, painless, and completely safe. This session will address recent progress in:
Laboratory techniques for detecting volatile organic compounds excreted in the breath in picomolar concentrations (parts per trillion) e.g. two-dimensional gas chromatography reveals ~2,000 different volatiles in a single breath sample.
Point-of-care instruments (e.g. gas chromatography with surface acoustic wave detection) that can deliver test results within minutes.
Statistical tools such as Monte Carlo simulations that distinguish between disease signal and background noise,
The clinical challenges of designing human studies that will yield clinically useful new diagnostic breath tests.
The regulatory and financial challenges of bringing these breath tests to the patient and the doctor.