Together with a crack team of specialists in diverse fields, Micronit is developing an electronic nose to detect volatile biomarkers of early stage lung cancer in the breath of patients. Within the LCAOS project (Lung Cancer Artificial Olfactory System) novel diagnostic tools are developed to detect: (I) the presence of lung cancer, and (II) to assess the risk of a patient developing lung cancer in the future.
Current diagnostic tests are unsuitable for widespread screening because they are costly, occasionally miss tumors, are not time-efficient, nor free of complications. The electronic nose will overcome these problems by using an approach based on the detection of volatile biomarkers emitted from the lung tissue into the exhaled breath using state of the art sensor technology.
The task of Micronit is to develop the microfluidic exposure cell into which breath is pumped and where it is distributed to an array of silicon nanowire or gold nanoparticle based sensor chips. These sensor chips are manufactured by the project partners Technion (Israel) and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light (Germany) and shipped to Micronit where the assembly onto the exposure cell takes place using a room temperature flip chip bonding process. For reading out the sensors, JLM Innovation (Germany) has developed the electronics and the Universidad Complutense De Madrid (Spain) has developed a neural network and advanced pattern recognition algorithms to process the sensor data. The system will be validated by the hospitals linked to The University Of Liverpool (United Kingdom) and Tel Aviv University (Israel) with the help of a calibration gas generator and mass spectrometer from Ionimed Analytik (Austria).