Learn how new approaches have made it possible to detect early stage lung cancer

What is your role?

My name is Billy Boyle, the CEO and Co-Founder of Owlstone Medical.

What innovation are you working on for the NHS?

The LuCID (Lung Cancer Indicator Detection) project will allow Owlstone Medical’s existing FAIMS chemical detection technology to be used to diagnose lung cancer, by measuring the trace chemicals present in the breath of lung cancer patients. The LuCID project will have two products as outputs: the ReCIVA breath sampler, which allows patient breath samples to be collected in hospitals, and a FAIMS analyser, which will be used in Owlstone Medical’s laboratories to test these breath samples. ReCIVA is already commercially available, and is being used by a number of clinical research groups in addition to Owlstone Medical.

What difference do you think it will make for patients?

Every year, there are around 45,000 new cases of lung cancer in the UK. When diagnosed at Stage I, 35% of patients will live at least a further five years, while for those diagnosed at Stage IV, the five-year survival rate is close to zero. However, at present just 15% of new cases are diagnosed at Stage I. By increasing this to 25% of cases, LuCID aims to save 3200 lives every year.

What assistance have you had from the Eastern AHSN or SBRI Healthcare and how did it help?

If you could change only one thing in the fight against cancer, it would be to detect the disease earlier where existing treatments are already proven to save lives. Owlstone Medical’s technology has the potential to deliver a quick and easy-to-use breath test, and SBRI funding is allowing us to turn that potential into a reality.

What should happen next for you to succeed?

Breath sampling in hospitals is now underway, and the samples are presently being tested and analysed at Owlstone Medical. The next step will be to determine the results of these clinical tests, and to confirm just how effective Owlstone Medical’s technology is at detecting early stage lung cancer.

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