Breath Biomarker Discovery

Every living organism breathes in one way or another. We do it between 17,000 and 30,000 times every day.
Each exhalation carries several thousand molecular species that reflect our metabolism in that particular moment.
Breath research via SUPER SESI is non invasive, and can be continuously monitored, offering an excellent window to the metabolism.


selected scientific literature:
- Breath Biomarker Discovery -

Method of detecting COPD by mass spectrometry

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L. Bregy, D. Garcia-Gomez, M. Kohler, Y. Nussbaumer-Ochsner, P. M-L Sinues, Y. Suter, R. Zenobi.

Successful biomarker identification of COPD with SESI-MS, by ETH-Zurich & Zurich University Hospital: Method of detecing COPD by mass spectrometry (WIPO, January 2018)

This patent provides a method for the medical diagnosis of COPD patients and Acute Exacerbation COPD patients. The biomarkers described in this patent were identified with SESI-MS.

Exhaled breath analysis by real-time MS in patients with pulmonary fibrosis

Levels of  fulvine (C16H23NO5) in the exhaled breath of a control group (black) and in IPF patients (red).

P. M-L Sinues, Y. Nussbaumer Ochsner, M.T. Gaugg, L. Bregy, A. Engler, R. Zenobi, M. Kohler.

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is recognized as a distinct clinical disorder, however, the diagnosis method remains elusive. Metabolic profiling of biopsied tissue specimens has shown promise to gain insights into IPF pathogenesis. In view of this, the authors hypothesized that the analysis of exhaled metabolites may also provide further insights.

SESI-MS and a novel statistical bioinformatic approach identifies a cancer-related profile in exhaled breath of breast cancer patients: a pilot study

Heatmap showing color coded ion abundance values of the 8 features of the final classifier.

P. M-L Sinues, Elena Landoni, Rosalba Miceli, Vincenza F. Dibari, Matteo Dugo, Roberto Agresti, Elda Tagliabue, Simone Cristoni, Rosaria Orlandi.

SESI–MS produces high-dimensional data of quality comparable to gene expression analysis output. This prompted the authors to use methods originally developed for gene expression data in analyzing SESI–MS breathprints.

Effects of CPAP therapy withdrawal on exhaled breath pattern in obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA)

Real-time breath analysis showing time traces of the signal intensity of one exemplary breath metabolite (pentenal) in a subject from the CPAP-withdrawal group at baseline and at follow-up two weeks later.

M.T. Gaugg, Y. Nussbaumer-Ochsner, L. Bregy, A. Engler, N. Stebler, T. Bruderer, P. M-L Sinues, R. Zenobi, M. Kohler

Patients with OSA effectively treated with CPAP were randomised to either withdraw treatment  or continue CPAP for 2 weeks. Exhaled breath analysis and research by untargeted SESI-MS was performed at baseline and 2 weeks after randomisation. CPAP withdrawal led to a recurrence of OSA, which was accompanied by a significant change in 16 identified metabolites.

On-line breath analysis with SESI discriminates between COPD patients with and without frequent exacerbations

ROC-AUC curve of 0.89 (95% c.i 0.75 - 0.96) with an accuracy of 86.5% at the optimal operating point (circle).

M. T. Gaugg, Y. Nussbaumer-Ochsner, L. Bregy, A. Engler, N. Stebler, T. BrudererP. M-L Sinues, R. Zenobi, M. Kohler

The authors successfully identified metabolic patterns in exhaled breath, which discriminate COPD patients with and without frequent exacerbations. They propose that their findings correlate with the increased oxidative stress caused by elevated nitric oxide production in response to the pulmonary inflammation.