Ancon Medicals Device Finds Disease from a Single Molecule

After 15 years of research and development by Ancon Medical on revolutionary disease screening technology, the Minnesota-based company has developed a cutting-edge medical device that can detect lung cancer and up to hundreds other deadly diseases, simply by testing an individuals breath.

Ancon Medicals Nanoparticle Biomarker Tagging (NBT) device is the worlds most advanced, non-invasive disease screening technology, which operates at a level of sensitivity and selectivity that far exceeds similar technology thats currently being developed and promoted in the media.

No other medical screening technology can detect diseases with the sensitivity that NBT can, said Wesley Baker, Ancon Medical president. While some companies are claiming to have developed similar technology, those devices cannot detect at a sensitivity of a single molecule like the NBT does. Nor can other technology match the NBTs ability to distinguish between the biomarker molecules that indicate disease and other molecules in the air.

The NBT device detects biomarkers, which are DNA-protein controlled volatile organic compounds (VOCs) metabolites specific to diseases. These biomarkers act like fingerprints for diseases and NBT can detect VOC concentrations as small as a single molecule.

Researchers demonstrated the sensitivity of Ancon Medicals NBT technology in August 2012 at the Boulby Underground Laboratory in the U.K. This lab is located deep enough to block cosmic rays and other ionizing radiation that could affect the devices sensitivity. The test showed that the NBT device could be measured to one ion in 10,000 cubic centimeters, giving the device a sensitivity that could be measured down to a single molecule.

The difference between NBT detecting a biomarker at a single molecule and other technology that needs concentrations of hundreds or thousands of molecules can be the difference of weeks or months in a diagnosis, Baker said. With diseases like lung cancer, that difference can mean the critical early treatment that saves lives.

A number of biomarkers for lung cancer, e.g. an organic molecule butylated hydroxytoluene, has already been identified, making the NBT device a viable screening option. Lung cancer has a very low survival rate, with only nine percent of those diagnosed surviving five years. However, if diagnosed early, treatment of lung cancer can be much more effective, with studies showing 57 percent surviving past five years.

Already biomarkers for approximately 400 diseases have been discovered, and with further research, the VOCs for other diseases can be revealed.

We believe within three months, our researchers could identify the Ebola virus biomarker and give medical personnel a powerful tool to stop the spread of that deadly disease, if such a project was funded individually Baker said.

NBT technology is similar but not identical to ultrafast gas chromatography, a laboratory test that can analyze a complex mixture of chemicals. But Ancon Medicals NBT device doesnt require a laboratory or hours to deliver a reading. Instead, NBT is portable, versatile and can deliver a result in as quickly as 5 minutes.

Ancon Medical has already produced a suitcase-sized prototype of the NBT device. However, the devices size can be further reduced to about the size of a toaster, while still offering all of the technologys advantages, including cloud connectivity that would enable the device to screen for a wide variety of diseases.

With Federal Drug Administration approval expected to take approximately two years, the NBT device could be ready to hit the market as early as the 2016 third fiscal quarter. An NBT device is expected to cost around $39,950, giving hospitals, clinics and other point-of-care facilities an affordable option for screening and early detection for a host of diseases.

Ancon Medical, and its associated company Ancon Research Ltd., has patents on NBT technology in both the U.S. and U.K.Ancon Medical is a member of LifeScience Alley, a biomedical trade association based in Minnesota.

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