GC/MS breath test to detect organ rejection, disease
In addition, Michael Phillips, CEO of Menssana, said that his technology can determine the levels of each compound, being about a billion times more sensitive than police breathalyzer machines.
By taking samples from thousands of ill people, "We've identified a number of compounds that are the 'fingerprint' of a disease," Phillips said.
Because illnesses produce high amounts of free radicals, which oxidize cell membranes and release certain compounds, each disease has a unique "fingerprint," he said.
Part of Phillips' contribution has been developing the computer software to extract the fingerprint from a mass of data provided by two standard pieces of lab equipment that analyze the breath samples: a gas chromatograph and mass spectrometer.
The samples reveal a lot about an individual, said Renee Cataneo, a Menssana research associate. "I can tell if they were drinking the night before, or if they're hungry," she said. An empty stomach, it seems, gives higher readings of acetone.
[from USAToday, Aug. 21, 2005]