Detecting diseases through your breath made possible by technology


University of Technology Sydney Material Engineer. Noushin Nasiri is trying to develop the world's smallest sensor for detecting disease through a person's breath.

With the use of nanotechnology, she is developing the "science behind a dog's nose" into a small rectangular disk that one day might be able to slot into your smartphone, analyze your breath, and tell you if it detects an illness.

"Any change that happens in your body produces a biomarker, and that biomarker, because it has a high vapor pressure, finds a way to come out of your body through your urine, sweat, tears, saliva — or through your breath," Dr. Nasiri explained.

Blood tests take almost two weeks to get the results, unlike with this new technology according to Dr. Nasiri;  “But breath analysis is non-invasive, no needle, no injection. It's very cheap because you can have it on your phone so you don't need to spend money on hospitalization and tests.”

The basic sensor is layered with a chemical material sensitive or reactive to the unique biomarker. By using nanotechnology, Dr. Nasiri can make the sensor super sensitive to the nanoparticles in the breath and calculate the concentration of that biomarker that can detect 17 diseases that include diabetes, lung cancer, breast cancer, Parkinson's disease, asthma, schizophrenia, and kidney and liver failure.

Dr. Nasiri believes she is about three years away from the base product hitting the market.

Photo by: Negative Space via pexels