Scientists in Cambridge are to run a PAN cancer clinical trial to see if breath samples can be used to detect cancer in its early stages, the Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Cambridge Centre and Owlstone Medical have announced.
Pan cancer clinical trial aims to evaluate breath biopsy for early detection of disease
The large scale clinical trial will be carried out by researchers at the CRUK Cambridge Centre, the University of Cambridge and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in collaboration with diagnostics company, Owlstone Medical.
As part of the trial, patients with a suspected cancer diagnosis who are referred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital for assessment through the standard NHS cancer care pathway, will be asked to give a breath sample in addition to routine tests.
The breath samples will be collected in clinic using Owlstone Medical’s CE-marked ReCIVA Breath Sampler, then sent to the world’s first Breath Biopsy clinical laboratory for analysis at Owlstone Medical, in Cambridge. The trial will compare the breath samples of patients with and without cancer to assess whether breath contains reliable biomarkers that may be used in future to detect cancer earlier.
The PAN Cancer trial aims to develop breath biopsy tests for the early detection of bladder, breast, head and neck, kidney, oesophageal, pancreatic and prostate cancers and brain tumours, with the ultimate aim of detecting and diagnosing cancer much earlier, when more treatment options are available and the chances of surviving are much higher.
Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald, co-lead of the CRUK Cambridge Centre Early Detection Programme, Professor of Cancer Prevention at the MRC Cancer Unit, and an Honorary Consultant in Gastroenterology and General Medicine at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, said: “New tools that can help to detect and diagnose cancer earlier are urgently needed and we are very pleased to collaborate with Owlstone Medical to evaluate Breath Biopsy for use in early detection. The PAN Cancer trial forms part of our Early Detection Programme, a flagship initiative of the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre that aims to devise better means of detecting cancer and diagnosing it in the early stages, which can lead to improved outcomes for cancer patients.”
One in two people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer at some stage in their lives, but the good news is that more people are surviving the disease today than ever before. Cancer survival has doubled since the early 1970s and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of that progress. But for some types of cancer, like pancreatic cancer, which is often diagnosed at an advanced stage, there has been little improvement in survival.
Professor Duncan Jodrell, Director of the Cambridge Cancer Trials Centre (CTCC) and Professor of Cancer Therapeutics at the University of Cambridge, commented: “In pancreatic cancer, for example, only 1% of patients will survive for 10 years - a figure which has changed very little in the last 40 years. New and improved methods for early detection will be crucial to enable us to diagnose and treat pancreatic cancer earlier and help more patients survive.”
Professor Richard Gilbertson, Li Ka Shing Chair of Oncology, Director of the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre and Head of the Department of Oncology at the University of Cambridge, said: “In the east of England alone, around 33,600 people are diagnosed with cancer every year. Some cancers are diagnosed very late when there are few treatment options available. Non-invasive detection of cancer in breath samples could make a real difference to survival. As a Cancer Research UK Major Centre, Cambridge is working hard to realise CRUK’s vision of diagnosing more cancers earlier so that we can work closer to the day when all patients are cured of cancer.”
Owlstone Medical’s Breath Biopsy platform is already being assessed in trials for early detection of lung and colon cancer. This latest trial will widen the scope of the research.
Billy Boyle, co-founder and CEO at Owlstone Medical, commented: “Positive results from the PAN Cancer trial could be game-changing in the fight against cancer: Breath Biopsy tests for cancer detection and diagnosis have the potential to greatly improve survival across a range of cancers. Our Breath Biopsy platform is already being assessed in large scale clinical trials for the non-invasive, early detection of lung and colon cancer, and it will be exciting to see how its use can be extended to other cancer types. Success in this study would make a real difference to the lives of millions of people, and supports our vision of saving 100,000 lives and $1.5 billion in healthcare costs.”
“We are very proud to have the opportunity to work with these world-leading research teams on this ground breaking trial, which could have a great impact on improving cancer survival.”
About Owlstone Medical
Owlstone Medical has developed a breathalyser for disease. With a focus on non-invasive early detection and precision medicine for cancer, inflammatory disease and infectious disease, the company aims to save 100,000 lives and $1.5B in healthcare costs.
Owlstone Medical’s Breath Biopsy® platform is a new diagnostic modality capable of detecting disease biomarkers in breath. The award winning ReCIVA Breath Sampler ensures reliable collection of breath samples. VOC (Volatile organic compound) biomarkers present in breath are analysed with high sensitivity and selectivity using proven microchip chemical sensor technology (Field Asymmetric Ion Mobility Spectrometry, FAIMS).
The Breath Biopsy platform has the potential to revolutionize early detection and precision medicine, with applications in cancer and a wide range of other conditions. Breath Biopsy enables disease to be detected earlier, when treatments are more effective and more lives can be saved. By identifying patients most likely to respond to a particular therapy, Breath Biopsy can also ensure that the right therapy is given to the right patient at the right time, helping to reduce healthcare costs.
Owlstone Medical is currently developing tests for lung and colorectal cancer, two of the most common cancer killers worldwide, and for asthma stratification by therapeutic response. The company also provides Breath Biopsy products and services to academic, clinical and pharmaceutical partners who want to develop breath based biomarkers for their own applications.
Owlstone Inc was founded in 2004 as a spin-out from the Engineering Department at the University of Cambridge, and is a profitable business selling FAIMS technology to military and industrial customers globally. Owlstone Medical was spun out from Owlstone Inc in 2016 to develop and commercialize FAIMS in medical applications.
Owlstone Medical is headquartered in Cambridge, UK, with offices in London, UK.
To find out more about Owlstone Medical visit: www.owlstonemedical.com
For further information on Owlstone Medical’s clinical pipeline visit: www.owlstonemedical.com/clinical-pipeline
About Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre
The Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre is a dynamic collaboration of over 600 academic researchers, clinicians, and scientists in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, based in the Cambridge area. The Centre combines world-class science and technology with excellent patient care to pioneer new ways to prevent, detect, diagnose and treat cancer. By working together across different disciplines, the Centre is breaking down the barriers between the laboratory and the clinic, enabling patients to benefit from the latest innovations in cancer science faster. The formal partners of the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre are Cancer Research UK, the University of Cambridge and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
About Cambridge University Hospitals
Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) is one of the largest and best known hospitals in the country, delivering high-quality patient care through Addenbrooke’s and the Rosie Hospitals. CUH is a leading national centre for specialist treatment for rare or complex conditions and a university teaching hospital with a worldwide reputation.
CUH is a key partner in Cambridge University Health Partners (CUHP), one of only six academic health science centres in the UK, and is at the heart of the development of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus (CBC), which brings together on one site world-class biomedical research, patient care and education. As part of the Campus development, Papworth Hospital is creating a bespoke, purpose-built hospital, and AstraZeneca is building a new global R&D centre and corporate headquarters. The Campus is one of the government’s 11 National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) comprehensive biomedical research centres.
For more information please contact:
Sarah Jeffery, Zyme Communications
+44 (0)7771 730919
The Owlstone detector is a revolutionary dime-sized device that can be programmed to detect a wide range of chemical agents that may be present in extremely small quantities. Using leading-edge micro- and nano- fabrication techniques, Owlstone has created a complete chemical detection system that is one hundred times smaller and one thousand times cheaper than existing technologies.