Minnesota-based medical device company, Ancon Medical, Inc., recently designed a non-invasive screening tool sensitive enough to detect lung cancer in its earliest stage, while costing significantly less than conventional methods, and needing only a breath sample.
The company is currently calling for much-needed funding to support this Nanoparticle Biomarker Tagging (NBT) device, which can also be used as a diagnostic tool for infectious diseases and viruses.
November is designated Lung Cancer Awareness Month – a month-long time to boost awareness, research and development efforts, improved treatment, and screening initiatives against lung cancer, the second leading cause of death in the United States. Lung cancer is estimated to cause 27 percent of all cancer-related deaths in the country, which further highlights the need to get screened and diagnosed as early as possible in order to yield the best survival rates. Early detection, however, tends to be a challenge for healthcare providers as x-rays and computed tomography (CT) scanning are not sensitive enough in the earlier stages of lung cancer, and exposes patients to radiation.
According to Wesley Baker, the President of Ancon Medical, the NBT device is capable of screening a wide range of individuals identified to have risk factors, allowing physicians to give an accurate diagnosis before the cancer starts to show symptoms, and has progressed beyond easy management and good survival rates.
He explained in a press release, “The only thing preventing Ancon Medical from further developing its NBT device is financial resources needed”. NBT technology works by detecting “biomarkers,” which are DNA-protein controlled volatile organic compounds (VOCs) metabolites specific to diseases. These VOCs are the “fingerprints” of disease and no technology is as sensitive at finding these biomarkers as NBT, which is significantly more sensitive than current screening methods.
Efforts to boost awareness on certain diseases have proven to be quite effective. In fact, according to a study published in the British Journal of Cancer on the effects of an awareness campaign for lung cancer, there was a notable increase in the number of early lung cancer diagnoses in the registry. During a UK-based “Be Clear on Cancer” campaign, there was a 30 percent increase in referrals compared to the same time frame a year before. Additionally, during the months after the campaign, 700 more patients were diagnosed with lung cancer, with a considerable portion receiving an early diagnosis.