Breathing for a diagnosis
Someone may have suggested that you "save your breath" but now researchers are hoping that your breath can save you.
"For me one of the biggest drivers is helping people,” says Guy LaTorre, CEO of Breathtec Biomedical, “especially with health issues."
LaTorre says his company may soon be able to give patients a sigh of relief. Breathtec Biomedical is working on using a device similar to a breathalyzer to diagnose diseases.
"There are a number of volatile organic compounds that are in our breath that come directly from our bloodstream through the lungs,” LaTorre says, “and many of those compounds are associated with different disease states."
He says it was about 40 years ago that researchers discovered that our breath can tell a lot about our health.
"There are hundreds and hundreds of volatile organic compounds,” he says, “so it's not a simple thing to do, but with the right technologies and the right analytical algorithms we can detect patterns that are associated with healthy patients versus patients that have diseases."
They're focusing their biomarker tests specifically on liver disease and diabetes to start.
"For example if you have diabetes, quite often you'll have elevated acetones and ketones in your breathe versus a healthy individual."
And the technology that makes this "breathprint" possible was developed by u-f researchers.
"Well what's keeping it in Gainesville is that's where the talent is,” he says. “Right now we have a two UF Ph.D level candidates with Dr. Rick Yost, and also I’ve lived in Gainesville for over 30 years so for all those reasons, we're keeping the company here."
LaTorre says the device is still in development and not handheld size yet, but will be similar to a breathalyzer used to detect blood alcohol content.
Breathetech intends to use local companies to help manufacture the technology and bring it to market.
He says "so whenever possible, we're trying to draw off of local resources and local talent."
LaTorre hopes that in just a couple of years, the company's devices will be in the hands of doctors to help with early detection by simply taking your "breathprint".
"At Breathtec we say that your fingerprint tells us who you are, but your "breathprint" tells us how you're doing."
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