Scientific Objectives

To support the strategic objectives and to enable the novel ‘NA-NOSE’ to identify and detect volatile biomarkers in real confounding environments, the following scientific objectives have been determined:
•       To develop arrays of differently functionalized Si NW FETs that form a novel ‘NA-NOSE’ able to detect and identify volatile biomarkers for LC as well as other types of cancer and even sub-types of LC.
•       To test the feasibility of the developed ‘NA-NOSE’ to sense volatile biomarkers of LC from in-vitro tissues and from human exhaled breath.
•       To test the feasibility of the developed ‘NA-NOSE’ to sense precancerous conditions, invasive LC and cross-correlation between the volatile biomarker signatures and other known biomarkers.
•       To test the feasibility of the ‘NA-NOSE’ to monitor the treatment/therapy success of LC.
•       To reach a thorough understanding of the signal transduction mechanism of the various volatile biomarkers and metabolites, aided by sophisticated statistical and pattern recognition methods.
•       To develop improved systems that will enable the ‘NA-NOSE’ to clearly distinguish the targeted biomarkers from environmental clutter, using methylation, expression profiling, and genome-wide sequencing in order to correlate LC’s metabolite signature with genetic aberrations in the related pathways that will improve treatment strategy.
•       To perform clinical studies to assess LC conditions in actual patients and actual tissues.
•       To reach a thorough understanding of the molecular biology and pathways of the multistep process of lung carcinogenesis by combining the molecular transcriptomic and genomic data obtained in biopsies at all stages of lung squamous carcinogenesis, and with isolated organic compounds detected in exhaled breath or headspace of in-vitro or tissue samples.
•       To further sub-categorize the profiles of volatile biomarkers for each of the sub-types of LC, where each profile will express a different level of tumor activity and aberrancy. The data emerging from this project will provide a very powerful metabolite, clinical and genetic dataset, which will require high-level bioinformatic analytical techniques.
The realization of a highly-efficient and cost-effective ‘NA-NOSE’ for the detection and identification of volatile biomarkers related to (sub-types of) LC from breath samples or headspace of LC cells/tissues will be carried out at two industry/SME sites (MMBV and JLMI), aiding with the expertise of a third SME (ION) in the field of medical diagnostics. These industrial partners will take the ‘NA-NOSE’ prototype design to a higher level of miniaturization and will refine and automate features such as data acquisition and data interpretation and software integration, making the hand-held device simple-to-use, even be used during surgery.