MST contributes to the future of the e-nose

“We are now able to give the correct diagnose within 1 minute for most of the general lung diseases with 8 out of 10 patients”, says Frans de Jongh, respiratory physiologist at Medisch Spectrum Twente in Enschede. His secondment posting from the hospital and the University of Twente allows him to be involved with the SpiroNose project; a ‘medical nose’ that traces diseases through the analyses of a patient’s breath. The so-called e-nose does this during a pulmonary function test, with the use of 8 different sensors. Those sensors detect molecules that could be an indication of a respiratory disease, such as COPD and asthma but also lung cancer.


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In short

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Diagnosed within 1 minute

The SpiroNose project’s challenge is the large number of measurement needed to be able to develop a reliable database with results. “Even 8 out of 10 is not enough for scientists and medical specialists like ourselves, we want to be able to make a diagnose that is 98% accurate. What we’re doing to achieve this, is ‘saving breath characteristics’ from patients with a certain diagnosis. When there are 100 patients that carry the diagnosis lung cancer after a measurement, we can assemble a kind of model. The patient’s data that takes a breath test afterwards will be compared to those 100 from the model. When there is a large number of similarities it could be stated that the patient is suffering from the similar disease.”


The SpiroNose project supplies the first large database of e-nose diagnoses with respiratory diseases worldwide. Because the data of the newly developed SpiroNose are exchangeable, these data will (anonymously) be exchanged through the internet automatically. The centralized storage of data already exists. In the coming period, the database will be connected to a self-learning algorithm based on artificial intelligence (BreathCloud). This connection has to provide a new patient an advice about his potential respiratory disease, based on his breath, from the system within 1 minute, for example through the BreathCloud app at the general practitioner.

A quicker and cost-effective diagnosis

Where, normally, sputum (‘lung-spit’) would be cultivated, a process that in general will take several days, the e-nose is able to directly determine whether the issue is, for example, a viral infection or a bacterium. “Medicine can therefore be adjusted better and unnecessary tests can be skipped. It also makes the system more cost-effective.”


MST is one of the European centers where the SpiroNose is tested in practice. In the participating practices and centers, the e-nose will identify respiratory patients during 16 months. This will be assembled into a database of at least 3.000 diagnoses with patients that (are thought to) have asthma, COPD, lung cancer and other respiratory diseases.

Everyone their own mini e-nose

Inside the medical world, the e-nose has been in development for some time. “The sensors in the first noses where that sensitive that they broke down after a cleaning treatment with hospital alcohol. We’ve now moved on. A next challenge is a nano e-nose, in which it is possible to integrate a lot more small sensors which allows you to measure more. Such a miniature nano-nose could, in future, be integrated in everyone’s telephone, for example. That nano-nose ‘smell right through that last cappuccino you had’ and is able to tell you whether you are healthy or whether it would be better to contact your doctor. We’re not that advanced yet but in 10 years’ time the e-nose will have become indispensable in the medical world!”


Read more here about the SpiroNose project!

Date: 18 January 2017 |

Source of tekst: MST |