Exhaled breath carries a molecular’breathprint’ unique to each individual, which may be used as a more convenient tool to diagnose disease, replacing the conventional blood and urine tests, researchers say.
Doctors routinely have blood and urine analysed in order to obtain hints for infectious and metabolic diseases, to diagnose cancer and organ failure, and to check the dose of medication, based on compounds present in these body fluids.
Researchers at ETH Zurich and at the University Hospital Zurich now propose to extend such analyses to breath, and in particular to take advantage of modern high-resolution analytical methods that can provide real-time information on the chemical composition of exhaled breath.
The scientists developed an instrument-based version of a principle by which doctors draw conclusions about the health state of a patient. It is also known that trained dogs and rats can distinguish the smell of the breath of people suffering from certain variants of cancer. PTI