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Device by Moncton-based company could lead to early detection of certain cancers

The Maritime provinces have some of the highest rates of lung cancer in Canada and more than half of those diagnosed aren't catching it fast enough.

Now, a New Brunswick-based company is hoping to change those statistics.

Breathe BioMedical is developing a breath test to detect lung cancer.

A research study from Horizon Health showed the technology is able to detect lung cancer with an accuracy of 86.1 per cent.

Patients breathe into a breath sampler, which gets concentrated in a tube, and is then sent to the Breathe BioMedical lab in Moncton, N.B., where it gets analyzed using infrared technology.

Their CEO says the technology is a little bit more than two years away from hitting the market.

“We’re projecting that we’ll be able to have that product on the market by the end of 2025,” says Dr. Stephen Graham.

Graham became aware of the company in 2015 while working in the medical affairs field.

He says he was enamored by the technology, which was designed by a Moncton physicist.

“I became involved in the company and I had just lost my mom, personally, to cancer. And so this really hit home and I thought I really needed to get involved and then I came on as CEO in 2018.”

Graham says Breathe BioMedical have designed their technology to be easy for patients to use in a doctor’s office or a pharmacy.

“They sit down and they just breathe into the machine. It takes a number of breaths but it’s very, very low stress. They just breathe normally,” he says. “It’s accessible because it’s close to home. It’s also non-invasive because you don’t have a lot of the sorts of machines like low-dose CT scan that you currently use for lung cancer screening.”

He adds that there are also applications for the technology when it comes to other cancers, as well as neurological and infectious diseases.

“When the tumor is present, the tumor cells give off compounds that go through your body and then come out through your lungs, so for any type of cancer the same process occurs,” Graham says. “We’ve actually done some early studies in breast cancer where we’re seeing results in around 81-82 per cent.”

Breathe BioMedical is looking at launching primarily in the American market.

“That’s where we can get the most traction and the most success financially. But everything we’re doing we’re doing in Canada as well. So while we’re looking at FDA, we’re also looking at Health Canada. And we’re actually having amazing results working with New Brunswick and we hope to continue that so that New Brunswick can be one of the first regions that at least knows intimately what our technology can do.” Top Stories


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