Doctors have known since antiquity that the way a patient’s breath smelled could provide clues to the disease within.
An interdisciplinary team led by Perena Gouma, PhD, Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and Director of the Center for Nanomaterials and Sensor Development at Stony Brook, has taken this diagnostic approach to a very sophisticated level. They developed a personalized asthma monitor, similar to the breathalyzer used by traffic cops to detect alcohol levels that uses nanotechnology to detect known airway inflammation biomarkers in the breath.
The Stony Brook research team recently received a $599,763 grant through NSF’s Smart Health and Wellbeing Program. The program seeks to use advances in computer and information science and engineering to make healthcare proactive and person-centered with a focus on well-being rather than disease. A disease detecting breathalyzer certainly fits the bill. In addition to the asthma monitor, the Stony Brook team is using this technology to detect chemical markers for renal disease, diabetes blood cholesterol and lung cancer.