(Australian Associated Press)
Adelaide researchers are spearheading the development of breath tests to detect cancer.
A breathalyser device could be used to measure the presence of hard-to-detect diseases such as oesophageal, gastric, and head and neck cancers, Flinders University project leader Roger Yazbeck says.
“The symptoms don’t show up as very obvious so often when people notice something’s wrong, it’s quite late in the cancer stage and their prognosis tends not to be very good,” he told AAP on Wednesday.
One of the tests under development looks at the gases a patient exhales while a second measures the interaction between enzymes unique to particular cancers and carbon dioxide.
“Detection tools that are out there at the moment are limited to invasive, costly techniques,” Dr Yazbeck said.
“We offer something much cheaper to administer, something that’s much quicker, less invasive and more comfortable for patients.”
Dr Yazbeck expects to complete clinical trials on the new tests within five years.
He said they might also be used to detect other diseases such as dietary conditions, cystic fibrosis and intestinal disorders.