Breathomix: Analysing Exhaled Breath to Diagnose Respiratory Diseases
Maurik van den Heuvel, CEO
As per, leading cancer journal Annals of Oncology, in the period between March 2016 and February 2018, the researchers at The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, recruited 143 patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). They used ‘SpiroNose,’ a device, for exhaled breath analysis, to capture the breath-profiles of the patients two weeks before they began treatment with nivolumab or pembrolizumab. The instrument used in the experiment was developed by Breathomix, a company that plans to transform the way patients with respiratory diseases such as asthma, COPD, and lung cancer are diagnosed and managed.
Meanwhile, the experiment continued, and after three months, they used standard criteria, Response Evaluation Criteria of Solid Tumours (RECIST), to determine whether the patients were responding to the treatment or not. Results from the first 92 patients who had their therapy between March 2016 and February 2017 were validated by those from the remaining 51 patients who began their treatment after April 2017.
The experiment showed that the patients identified as being non-responsive to immunotherapy could be excluded from the same, beforehand, and other effective treatment procedures can be exercised. Immunotherapy can trigger severe side effects in about 10 per cent of patients. Organs such as the lungs, liver, and bowel can become inflamed when the body’s immune system starts to attack its own cells. By correctly identifying patients who will not respond to immunotherapy, side effects related to the treatment can be avoided. For 24 per cent of NSCLC patients kept under observation, this treatment could be avoided, without denying anyone efficacious therapy. The device can identify with 85 per cent accuracy those who will or will not respond to immunotherapy. This precision is because the cross-reactive sensors in SpiroNose capture the complete mixture of Volatile Organic Compounds(VOCs) in the participant’s exhaled breath.
The power of this eNose system is that it has been properly validated, both technically and clinically, which is essential
The (VOCs) provide a picture of a person’s metabolism, which can be used to diagnose diseases before other physical symptoms become apparent. Just like tracing molecules in our blood or urine, one can measure them in a person’s exhaled breath.
The CEO of Breathomix, Maurik van den Heuvel, who led the research and has professional experience in Artificial Intelligence and analytics, says, “The power of this eNose system is that it has been properly validated, both technically and clinically, which is essential.” SpiroNose is a part of the innovative BreathBase Solution developed by Breathomix, which understands that the presence of pollutants and allergens in the air are posing a threat to breathing and leading to fatal respiratory diseases. Breathing ailments have global standards for their diagnosis and management; still, the biological mechanisms driving the abnormalities in individual patients with the same diagnosis present quite a heterogeneity. This is because the underlying molecular networks are different for every patient. Molecular pattern recognition approach delivers a fingerprint of the patient’s individual biology. With the data instantly at their fingertips, doctors and general practitioners will have more information to provide on the spot care. BreathBase Solution is uniquely designed to allow real-time analysis of the sensor data based on advanced signal processing and artificial intelligence(AI) through the BreathBase Platform, providing diagnostic feedback to the user within seconds.
In a growing number of centres, including international collaborators in the EU, Australia and North America, the BreathBase Solution is incorporated into clinical research projects. During these ongoing projects, the BreathBase Data will increase in size, while the self-learning algorithms based on AI (BreathBase Platform) are further optimised. BreathBase Data is the world’s first and largest database filled with breath profiles (>4.000) and clinical characteristics of patients with for instance: asthma, COPD, lung cancer, ILD, CF and other types of cancer. The company aims to ensure that the BreathBase Solution offers every new patient a piece of personal advice within seconds, regarding the most probable disease, the individual phenotype and the most effective therapy.
Description Breathomix has developed BreathBase that allows assessment of the most probable diagnosis and can also be used for phenotyping individual patients and for predicting the response to (novel) interventions (tailored therapy). The missing link in breathomics provided by Breathomix B.V. is the combination of the easy to use eNose and an online reference database of exhaled biomarker profiles combined with validated clinical data that can be implemented at any location in the world. The online reference database is linked to a computer program based on artificial intelligence; BreathBase. The link with validated signal processing and machine learning algorithms allows real-time analysis of the obtained exhaled biomarker profiles. Lastly, BreathBase enables point-of-care personalized medicine by providing immediate diagnostic answers for the individual patient
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