Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the western world. Diagnosis of cancer often happens late in the course of the disease since available diagnostic methods are not sufficiently sensitive and specific. An early diagnosis of cancer could save thousands of lives a year. There is strong evidence that particulate cancers can be detected by molecular analysis of exhaled air. Breath analysis represents a new non-invasive diagnostic which can provide information beyond conventional analysis of blood and urine. Recent results suggest that detection of cancer is possible by means of breath analysis in very early stages of the disease. This project is focused onto the diagnosis of minimal disease and early stages of lung and oesophageal cancer. The analytical techniques used will be GC-MS, PTR-MS, SIFT-MS and laser spectrometry. In order to establish a reliable clinical method for the diagnosis of minimal residual cancer diseases clinical expertise, basic research and technical development is necessary. The European consortium set up for this proposal represents exquisite knowledge in the field of basic and clinical research and technical development. Based on its competence, the consortium has the expertise to investigate and screen for hundreds of molecules in the exhaled breath and the statistical tools to identify specific cancer markers. The objectives of the project are - the development of sensitive and specific markers for the detection of early cancer stages based on human breath - reliable analytical methods to determine these markers in the clinical environment - easy-to-use and non-expensive equipment establishing breath analysis as a novel cancer screening tool. To get a better understanding of the interplay between blood and breath concentrations of volatile components, the blood-gas kinetics will be modeled. Two SMEs will devesubsequent use in clinical applications.
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