Groundbreaking breath test for lung cancer in clinical trial

A clinical trial led by Leicester respiratory experts into a potentially ground-breaking ‘breath test’ to detect lung cancer is set to get underway at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester.

It is hoped that the LuCID (Lung Cancer Indicator Detection) programme will lead to a non-invasive method of diagnosing lung cancer in the early stages.

The company behind the device, Cambridge-based Owlstone Nanotech Ltd, carried out a health economic analysis and determined that detection of early-stage lung cancer could be increased from the current 14.5% to 25% by 2020. It is estimated this could save 10,000 lives and £250m of NHS money.

The device works by measuring volatile organic compounds (VOCs) at low concentrations in a patient’s breath and offers a cheaper and smaller alternative to existing detection technologies.

Supported by the University's Enterprise and Business Development team and Leicester’s Hospitals, Owlstone was awarded £1m by the NHS Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) towards the second phase of the LuCID project – the clinical trials.

The clinical study is being led by Dr Salman Siddiqui, a clinical senior lecturer and adult chest physician at the University and Glenfield Hospital and the study will be delivered by a number of key members of the lung cancer clinical team including senior lung cancer clinician, Dr Jonathan Bennett.

Results of the trial are expected in early 2016.