ANCON Medical featured in Daily Mail

Full article by Alexandra Thompson, Senior Health Reporter For Daily Mail. Published 3 September 2019

The below summary has been edited as an overview. Click the link above to read the full article.

ANCON Medical’s pioneering technology, which analyses breath for chemicals released by lung tumours, has yet to be trialed on patients. However, the British firm hopes it could still be rolled out on the NHS in the next three years.

If the device is proven to work, the technology could eventually pave the way for a screening programme for lung cancer. To date, trials have only shown it detects molecules linked to lung cancer in the lab, rather than spotting the disease itself.

The device, which is spearheaded by Ancon Technologies, was inspired by it’s chief executive Wesley Baker’s 14-year-old son Thomas. Mr Baker believes the technology could have ‘made a huge difference’ to his son’s life if scientists had only known the markers for his disease.

With the lung cancer project being the most advanced, Mr Baker hopes the breathalyser will one day be used as part of a screening programme in the UK. Speaking to MailOnline, Mr Baker said: ‘In one minute of breath we can give a diagnosis of lung cancer in six to seven minutes. Our sensitivity is next generation chemical detection.’

To pick up on lung cancer, a user breathes into the device, which then analyses every single molecule looking for biomarkers. Mr Baker said: ‘We know the biomarkers we’re looking for in the breath of a lung cancer patient. These molecules are enlarged and captured, and matched to profile of a known patient. One of the biomarkers is butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), which has been shown to promote the formation of lung tumours. The technology, called Nanoparticle Biomarker Tagging, NBT ‘matches’ via artificial intelligence (AI), which ‘continuously monitors diseases from all over the world’.

NBT trials have only been carried out in laboratories to date. Studies on healthy volunteers are set to start next year, which will be followed by patient trials in 2021, Mr Baker said.

‘If all goes to plan it could be on the market in March or April 2021 in the UK and US,’ he added. ‘I can see it on the NHS.’

Mr Baker wants the technology used across GP surgeries, hospitals, pharmacies and even in people’s homes.

‘The real dream for me is to have a screening process for lung cancer, which doesn’t exist in the UK,’ he said.

One study, published in the journal Chemical Physics, found NBT is a 1,000 times more sensitive than its competitor Owlstone Medical’s technology.

Cancer Research UK praised Owlstone’s technology, which detects cancer by looking for chemicals given off by tumours, as having ‘enormous’ potential.

In a similarly moving tale, Owlstone was founded by the engineer Billy Boyle after his wife Kate Gross died of colon cancer aged just 36 on Christmas Day 2014.

A spokesperson from Owlstone claimed any comparisons between the two technologies has only taken place in ‘optimal lab conditions’. Owlstone is recruiting for a study of up to 4,000 lung cancer patients to test the device’s ability, the spokesperson added.

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