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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sensor array to test breath for multiple sclerosis

Key development could replace costly or painful tests

By Nick Flaherty

Researchers in Israel have developed a new sensor array that can diagnose MS by analysing the determined chemical compounds that appear in the breath of MS patients. Instead of using painful tests such as spinal tap or expensive ones such as an MRI, the team at the Laboratory of Nanomaterial-based Devices (LNBD) identified volatile organic compounds that can be associated with MS from exhaled breath. LNBD is part of the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa
Using the sensors, the researchers carried out a proof-of-concept clinical study on 34 MS patients and 17 healthy volunteers and found that the developed sensors are just as accurate as a spinal tap but without the pain or the risk of side effects. 
"The results presented here open new frontiers in the development of fast, noninvasive and inexpensive medical diagnosis tools for detection of chronic neurological diseases," said Prof Hossam Haick at LNBD. "The results could serve as a launching pad for the discrimination between different subphases of stages of multiple sclerosis as well as for the identification of multiple sclerosis patients who would respond well to immunotherapy." A large clinical study with the reported sensors is underway and will be reported in the future.
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