ANCON Medical has developed a revolutionary technology called Nanoparticle Biomarker Tagging (NBT) that gives medical professionals the capability to detect deadly diseases in a patient’s breath.
Please note, this technology is in pre-production and not yet available as a commercial product. Further information may be obtained by getting in contact.
How does NBT work?
Each exhaled breath contains a mixture of molecules or volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can be produced by bodily fluid or emitted by bacteria. Diseases will produce a specific mixture of these molecules, which act as so-called “biomarkers” that alert medical professionals to the presence of the disease. These biomarkers are the signature of a disease and discovering them can give doctors the ability to make an early diagnosis and begin potentially life-saving treatment.
Why is NBT special?
Higher sensitivity over competing technology:
For lung cancer, NBT can detect the presence of the biomarker molecule with concentrations of a billion times less than other air molecules. NBT is far more effective at detecting trace molecules than other current technology such as gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS): an expensive technology that requires a laboratory setting with a million times lower sensitivity. NBT far exceeds the performance of similar technology, such as the Faraday cup, where the detection concentration is 10,000 ions per second, or Wilson chamber technology, the widely-used nuclear physics technology that can require up to 100,000 ions to produce a detectable signal. Even worse is the mass spectrometer, which suffers low sensitivity due to the air-vacuum interface.
Single ions and molecules detected and identified:
Unlike GC-MS, NBT is its own portable laboratory consisting of a desktop enclosure that examines the biomarkers on a molecular level through several stages. NBT achieves high sensitivity by physically amplifying the biomarker molecule so that it can be easily detected with a laser counter. NBT can amplify a biomarker by nearly one billion times its mass.
Although the techniques involved are cutting edge, they possess an elegant simplicity which allows the NBT technology to be widely affordable at a fraction of the cost of current technologies.
The technology was demonstrated in the Boulby Underground Laboratory; a unique facility where there are no cosmic rays or other ionizing radiation in August 2012. The low detection limit of the NBT detector was measured to be one ion in 10,000 cubic centimetres, proving that single ion and single molecule detection is a reality with NBT technology.
NBT can detect butylated hydroxytoluene, the lung cancer biomarker molecule, in exhaled breath in only a few minutes.
The Technology Strategy Board UK (TSB) and the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) has funded NBT technology in order to pioneer its use in medicine, life science and other areas.