Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Although clinical breath analysis is currently in its infancy it offers unique capabilities to the field of medicine. Breath can be collected multiple times non-invasively from humans without posing any risk to the subject or the person collecting the sample. Breath can be collected easily in the field and the samples returned to the laboratory for analysis. Real-time monitors are currently being developed and these devices could be well suited for field and epidemiological studies, particularly for studies in developing countries where collecting blood and urine samples are difficult without refrigeration. If inexpensive portable real-time monitors can be developed for point-of-care testing then chronically sick patients could monitor their progress in their home and thereby minimizing their exposure to infections during routine visits to clinics. Breath analysis can be used to detect disease, monitor disease progression, or monitor therapy. Breath analysis can be used for phase 1 and phase 2 clinical trials to monitor new drug therapy or to detect potential adverse effects. Since breath analysis is non-invasive and can be performed easily, it allows larger numbers of study subjects to be studied. Using larger numbers of study subjects, unusual adverse effects are more likely to be identified. This presentation will discuss the current status of “clinical breath analysis”, including the analysis that uses methods of laser spectroscopy.