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Breath test : may soon becomes a diagnostic test for Multiple Sclerosis !

By: Helen McArdle , from THE HERALD.

Researchers believe that, they will soon be able to develop a simple breath test to diagnose multiple sclerosis. Scientists have identified what they believe to be unique biomarkers for the disease which pass from patients’ blood into their breath.

Work is now set to get underway on a larger study to prove that these compounds are only found in MS patients and not in other auto-immune or inflammatory conditions. The scientists will then attempt to develop a breath-test device which can detect these biomarkers, allowing faster, cheaper and easier diagnosis of the condition.

The research will be carried out by Huddersfield University’s Centre for Biomarker Research, in collaboration with the University of Warwick. Phoebe Tate, a medical biochemist whose work on biomarkers will provide the basis for the study, welcomed the move.  She said: “It would be speedier for one because you wouldn’t have to have specialist medical staff to do a breath test – a breath test can be done by someone with very little training, compared to an MRI scan. “Also, there are breath test devices that can give you an instant read-out so you wouldn’t have to wait for a result.

“It might be supplementary to other forms of diagnosis – we don’t know that it would necessarily replace them. “But it would also be useful potentially for ongoing monitoring as the condition develops. “You may not have an MRI scan every couple of months, but you could have a breath test.”

It comes as the latest research on biomarkers was unveiled during the MS Society’s Frontiers conference in Bath. very time a person exhales they release hundreds of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

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