Doctor Bill McNamara is the chief financial officer with Chemsensing in Champaign. As he walks around the lab, he shows us a machine. " Each of these is like an inkwell and this little machine comes over like a fountain pen and it sucks some of it up." Dr. Mcnamara was one of the original scientists at the U of I to research how chemical dots can be used to save lives. " It's like a nose, it can detect and identify different gas." The idea behind it is simple. The dots change color depending on what gas it touches. A certain pattern translates into a diagnosis. "It's early identification of bacterial infections."
Chemsensing is developing that research into a breathalyzer that can detect lung cancer. " We have a test that is cheap, affordable and faster than anyone on the market," says Matthew Placek, CEO of Chemsensing. He says the device is easy. All it takes is one exhale into a tube. Two minutes later the results come out. " You'll have an answer simply put, you'll know whether the patient has cancer or other disease states."
The test had not been FDA approved and Doctor McNamara says they are about 70-percent accurate. Nevertheless, researchers hope this is just one breathe away from cheaper, faster and more accurate healthcare. " We look to plug patients into this machine and tell you everything that is wrong with them everything from poor nutrition to diet, and more serious things, " says Placek as he looks into the future of his company.
There was already one clinical trial for the breathalyzer involving a few hundred people. The next step is to have a nationwide clinical trial to take it to thousands of people. For more information about this company, click here.