A Belgium study has found that breath analysis could help with the early detection of mesothelioma in patients. A research group from the Ghent University Hospital measured the volatile organic compounds (VOC) of exhaled breath of three groups: 23 of whom had already been diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), 22 people who had worked in the asbestos industry but had not been diagnosed with mesothelioma, and a healthy control group of 21 people. The analyzed data allowed the researchers to correctly classify the participants to the correct control group to a high margin .
Detection of the VOCs (which are the end products of processes related to diseases) can be measured using multi-capillary column/ion mobility spectrometry (MCC/IMS). The research group hopes that the detection of these could be used for indicating mesothelioma for at-risk patients, meaning screening for the disease can occur much earlier in the onset of the disease and treatment can begin at an earlier stage.
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