A new breakthrough in breathalyzer diagnostics has proven to be 100
times more powerful at detecting the biomarkers of disease than former
For more than three decades, researchers have been trying to come up with a breathalyzer test for the most common diseases, but have been unable to detect low levels of the biomarkers of disease to diagnose them early. Now, researchers at Purdue University and the National Institute for Standards and Technologists (NIST) have developed a material to make this possible.
The technology starts with millions of tiny heating devices on electronic chips -micro-hot-plates - as Carlos Martinez, investigator from Purdue, terms them. Then droplets of nanoparticle-coated polymer microparticles, which are smaller microns and contain electrodes shaped like meshing fingers, are placed on each microhotplate.
New breathalyzer technology enables rapid identification of early disease diagnosis: image via Perdue University & NIST
When the droplet dries, the electrodes are heated and burn off the polymer, leaving a very sensitive and powerful porous metal oxide film and sensors with altered electrical properties. These properties depending on the gas being identified.
The researchers demonstrated this by using the breathalyzer device to detect small levels of acetone in a gas passed over the sensors; acetone is a biomarker for diabetes. And the breathalyzer experiments proved to be much more sensitive to this biomarker than blood tests are to identifying diabetes, or more particularly, pre-diabetes. And they were at least 100 times more powerful than previous breathalyzer tests.
Cancer and other potential breathalyzer diagnostics are in experimental phases, but Martinez doesn't think they are likely to be available for 10 years or more because standards have not been developed for their manufacture.
Breathalyzer tests are not only more effective at medical diagnostics, but can be used rapidly and cheaply compared to other medical diagnostics.
Purdue University via RD Mag