Vantage mHealthcare, a New York-based health sensor development company, is developing a hand-held sensor capable of detecting lung cancer through breath analysis in order to facilitate earlier, more convenient, and cost-effective screenings for lung cancer.
Lung cancer is the leading cancer-related cause of death among men and women, the American Cancer Society claims. Early detection of cancer through regular screenings in healthy people can greatly increase chances of successful treatment, according to the World Health Organization.
Vantage mHealthcare announced recently that its manufacturer expects to deliver 100 health sensors to hospitals and research facilities in the US and New Zealand. This delivery marks the beginning of the next phase of research and development for Vantage, as it prepares for human clinical trials.
Over the last 6 months, Vantage has made significant investments to improve its device.
- Several ergonomic fittings were tested and optimized to produce a device that is small and easy to hold, making it more appropriate for testing.
- Vantage added Bluetooth communication capabilities to the device, allowing it to communicate data wirelessly, and in real-time to smartphones, tablets, and laptops.
- The company tested several different nanotube-based chemical sensors to improve the sensitivity of its device to biomarkers critical to the detection of early-stage lung cancer.
- Finally, Vantage refined the software algorithms it uses to interpret data, and these algorithms are being translated into apps to enable remote testing.
Lung Cancer Screening: As Easy as Exhaling
A lot of people just think breath is what's in your lungs. We realize now that anything in your body that is eventually in the blood can be measured in your breath.
Studies indicate that it’s possible to detect cancer at early stages through breath. Exhaled breath contains both volatile and non-volatile organic compounds, which vary between healthy individuals and those with lung cancer. That’s why dogs are able to sniff out cancer.
Vantage’s tool could give physicians a portable, reusable, inexpensive, and non-invasive method of routinely screening patients for lung cancer in its early stages, without the possible harmful side effects of radiation.
Source: Vantage mHealthcare
In early 2014, Vantage mHealth entered into a license agreement to commercialize NASA’s 2013 Invention of the Year – a nanosensor-based chemical sensor that’s the size of a postage stamp. The sensor was designed to plug into a mobile device for the detection of harmful chemicals in the air.
Lung Cancer Often Not Diagnosed Until It's Too Late
Most lung cancers cause no symptoms until they have progressed too far to be cured, according to the American Cancer Society. The National Cancer Institute states the five-year survival rate for lung cancer patients is approximately 17%. But there is an important difference between cancers diagnosed in early stages (i.e., those that are localized within the lungs) and later stages (i.e., once the cancer has spread to other organs).
For those cancers that are found in early stages, the five-year survival rate is 54%. Once the lung cancer metastasizes into other organs, the five-year survival rate is only 4%. Despite the significant difference early screening can make in a patient’s survival, only 15% of lung cancer cases are screened at an early stage – 85% are not.
Statistics from the National Cancer Institute indicate that each year in the US, approximately 60 new cases of lung cancer are diagnosed for every 100,000 men and women. There are 48 deaths per 100,000 people per year.
Other Possible Applications
Although Vantage mHealthcare has started with lung cancer, its sensor may have other applications in cancer screenings. Breath tests may also be used to detect cancers of the breast, colon, prostate, and ovary, as well as heart disease and narcotic use.