Frequently Asked Questions

Ancon Medical’s Nanoparticle Biomarker Tagging (NBT) technology makes possible a  revolutionary, non-invasive medical screening device that will let doctors and medical professionals test patients for a wide range of potentially deadly illnesses and diseases. The NBT device screens patients by testing their breath for telltale “biomarker” molecules that indicate the presence of diseases like cancer.  The result of more than 10 years of research, the current NBT prototype device is portable and roughly the size of a suitcase, but further research and development could see the device’s size reduced to approximately the size of a toaster.

Many people have questions about NBT technology and how the device works. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about NBT technology:

Q:  How is NBT technology different?

A: Using breath analysis to detect for cancer isn’t a new concept.  However, current breath detection technologies, such as those proposed by the Israeli team, are not sensitive enough to pick up the earlier stage of the cancer. In addition, current technologies are not selective enough, producing  false negative and false positive signals.  Ancon Medical’s NBT is a revolutionary technology that enables unprecedented selectivity and sensitivity – in some cases requiring only a single molecule for disease detection.  This patented technology will detect cancers at earlier stages than any other technology on the market.

Q: Is there a working NBT device?

A:  Ancon Medical has a working prototype of an NBT device and has successfully carried out a number of tests. The NBT prototype, which is about the size of a suitcase, is in pre-production, with the health and clinical trial stages still ongoing.

Q: How is NBT different than the  E-Nose?

A: NBT is a result of 10 years work on the frontier of nanotechnology culminating in the discovery of a physical tagging technique that enables a single molecule to be detected.  NBT is a revolutionary ultra-sensitive technology. This technology is cheap, effective and fast.

Whereas NBT is newly developed technology, the “E-nose” has been used since the 1950s to detect and identify vapors that organic compounds release into the air. A typical E-nose device will absorb organic molecules onto a film that will change the electric current when enough molecules are absorbed. E-nose devices are often used to monitor the quality of food, though in the past few years efforts have been made to convert the technology for use in detecting volatile organic compounds that can be associated with certain diseases. However, so far, e-nose devices haven’t proven to be effective at detecting diseases like lung cancer, which require significantly improved sensitivity and reproducibility.

Q: How does the NBT device work?

A: The NBT detector is a portable desktop micro-laboratory comprising 6 main modules:

  • Smart breath collector interface to collect exhaled sample containing biomarkers and to move the sample within the micro-laboratory modules.
  • Biomarker selector where biomarkers of interest are selected and conditioned.
  • Tags micro-factory a module where tags are produced.
  • Clean air module to generate clean air flow for the tags micro-factory.
  • Miniature tagging ring a chamber where biomarkers are tagged with tagging objects.
  • Flow conditioner and laser biomarker counter where tagged biomarkers are individually counted.


All the modules are proprietary and unique to Ancon.

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NBT Technology Video