Biosensor devices that can detect specific biomarkers are key components in mobile health tech. In order to be truly useful, however, they must measure well against the current gold standard in medical grade technologies. University and corporate laboratories worldwide are working on disease detection using breath analysis; they see the strong potential in this minimally invasive technology. We’ve written about work at Oxford University to detect Type I diabetes, Ketonix‘s ketone breath analyzer, Owlstone‘s work with cancer detection, Israel Institute of Technology study with a single breathalyzer to detect and classify 17 diseases, and more.

Vancouver, BC-based Breathtec Biomedical, Inc. recently reported on the development progress with the company’s prototype Breathtec Disease Detection Breathalyzer. The device employs field asymmetric waveform ion mobility spectrometry technology, or FAIMS, to analyze breath content. This is a way of analyzing gases using strong electric fields at room temperature and normal air pressure. Pulsed electrical charges cause different ions to separate so that they can be detected and measured.

Breathtec collaborated with Cannabix Technologies, also in Vancouver, to finalize the most recent prototype, classified as “V3” for the third generation version. Cannabix currently focuses on technology that helps law enforcement and employers detect THC in human breath. The Breathtec V3 device operates both independently with its own FAIMS detector or coupled with a triple-quadrupole mass spectrometer (MS). Mass spectrometry is the biomarker detection gold standard. In initial testing, Breathtec found a direct correlation between results from the V3 device alone and with the MS. The goal of the collaboration is to develop highly-accurate handheld Breathtec Disease Detection Breathalyzer for various diseases.