10.08.2018 change 10.08.2018
Katarzyna Florencka
Katarzyna Florencka

Mouthpiece from the University of Silesia will help detect respiratory tract cancers

Design of patented Y-shaped mouthpiece, fig. Dr. Andrzej Swinarew Design of patented Y-shaped mouthpiece, fig. Dr. Andrzej Swinarew

A special mouthpiece that will support diagnostics of upper and lower respiratory tract diseases, including lung and laryngeal cancers and bronchial diseases, has been designed by scientists from the University of Silesia.

"The growing importance of early cancer diagnostics means that researchers are looking for new methods to quickly detect changes heralding the development of cancer" - emphasizes the University of Silesia in a press release sent to PAP.

Modern, non-invasive tests are gaining popularity. They are based on the analysis of the chemical composition of exhaled air. They allow to identify and determine the relationship between certain types of proteins and the occurrence of lung or laryngeal cancer. The patient`s health condition is determined on the basis of the analysis of cancer markers, which are collected using special bags for air samples. The tested person exhales the air with proteins into them.

This method has many advantages, including the ease of performing the test and its low cost. But it also has several drawbacks.

"First of all, small amounts of low-concentration breathing material are collected, and transporting samples sensitive to mechanical damage may result in washing out cancer markers. Therefore, scientists propose replacing bags with porous polymeric materials with an extensive internal structure" - reads the press release.

But this change requires a special mouthpiece for patients. This mouthpiece has been designed by scientists from two faculties of the University of Silesia: the Faculty of Computer Science and Materials Science and the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry.

"The mouthpiece allows to filter the air inhaled by the patient and direct the exhaled air to the porous material, helping to reduce contamination of the sample material and collect more cancer markers during a single test" - the university argues.

The mouthpiece designed by Silesian scientists can be made of a modified polyester with antibacterial properties using 3D printing. According to the release, a part produced this way meets all the requirements for approving it for use for medical purposes and allows for its repeated use - after sterilization - using standard procedures. The device is protected by a patent.

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