Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


BreathDx Report Summary

Project ID: 611951
Funded under: FP7-PEOPLE
Country: Netherlands

Periodic Report Summary 1 - BREATHDX (Bedside monitoring of infection based on exhaled breath)

Molecular analysis of exhaled breath is a new frontier in medical testing with an enormous potential for monitoring respiratory disease. Breath tests are non-invasive and require minimal patient effort. This makes them applicable in a wide range of settings varying from the intensive care unit (ICU) to home.
Respiratory infections are the primary cause of death in ICU. More than half of the patients in ICUs worldwide suffer from infections, which lengthen their hospital stays and increase their mortality rate. Timely detection and treatment is important and monitoring infection via breath analysis will have a major impact on healthcare.
Presently, state of the art breath analysis includes gas chromatography and mass spectroscopy (GC-MS) which is a bulky lab technique that is expensive, slow, labor-intensive, and it requires specific expertise from the operator. Electronic nose sensor technology is being developed based on pattern recognition of composite molecular mixtures, but there is a need for clinical validation. Also the sensitivity of the sensors should be tailored towards particular medical applications. In this proposal the focus is on developing a sensor technique, where measurements are obtained and processed at the bedside. This solution will be dedicated to the detection of infection from breath.

BreathDx focusses on a synergistic approach between sensor technology development, clinical validation and complex data interpretation. Knowledge is exchanged between an industrial partner (Philips, NL) strongly involved in the healthcare market, two academic partners (University of Manchester (UoM), UK, Academic Medical Centre (AMC), NL) that have an impressive track record in breath analysis research in a clinical environment and the university of Twente (UT, NL) that has potential on bedside gas sensor technology that can be tailored to compounds and applications of interest. See also www.

The main research goals of the BreathDx project are:

1. Understanding of the composition of breath related to infection

2. Develop smart signal processing strategies for interpretation of complex rich data-samples

3. Develop and validate bedside gas sensor technology that can be tailored to compounds of interest dedicated to compounds in human breath

Summary of results so far:
The BreathDx consortium set up a multicenter clinical study for collecting breath samples in 150 ICU patients. The completion of the study protocol and the granted ethics approval form an important milestone of the consortium. The study started on May 26th 2015 at the AMC when the first patient was included and breath samples were successfully collected.
Collecting and analyzing breath samples is still in its infancy and today there is no standardized method available to capture and store breath. Therefore within the consortium an optimal breath sampling methodology was developed.
The nanocantilever sensor for detection of VOC in breath has undergone several improvements. Important insights have been obtained on electronic, mechanical and chemical properties. The sensor has been redesigned to allow mass fabrication and high throughput use, involving technologies such as large area deposition of piezoelectric films, electronic readout based on impedance tracking and inkjet printing of surface chemistries. An electronic readout system was realized together with a graphic user interface. Experiments were carried out to test the sensor and electronic readout system. A demonstrator setup is available.
The transfer of knowledge between Philips, UT, AMC UoM will accelerate the development of breath analysis solutions for infection detection in the ICU setting.
Due to the multi-disciplinary nature of the domain area of breath analysis research, close co-operation between sensor development, clinical expertise and data analysis is essential for developing an optimal solution. The BreathDx consortium which will serve as an excellent foundation to foster a longer-lasting collaboration between the partners involved.

Reported by

Academisch Medisch Centrum bij de Universiteit van Amsterdam


Life Sciences
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