Reading through a stack of press releases, we have discovered that Ekips Technologies, Inc., a Norman, Oklahoma company, is reporting raising “$2.9 million to support vital business operations and marketing efforts.” The company has also received a $500,000 matching grant from the National Science Foundation. It turns out that the company is working on implementing its Breathmeter™, a diagnostic device that measures biomarker molecules in exhaled breath.
Ekips develops new products based primarily on diode laser technology. Diode laser technology has a proven track record of enabling the creation of new industries (such as the fiber optic communication and CD/DVD optical storage industries). The Breathmeter™ that Ekips has developed for diagnosing and monitoring asthma utilizes mid-infrared diode lasers. These mid-infrared diode lasers have emission wavelengths that are up to ten times longer than diode lasers used for fiber optics or CD/DVD devices. Mid-infrared lasers can rapidly measure specific molecules with better than parts-per-billion sensitivity using the fundamental technique of vibrational absorption spectroscopy. There are many applications in the areas of medical diagnostics, industrial process control, and pollution monitoring where such measurements are useful. The Breathmeter™ represents just one specific health care application for this technology platform…
Started by MIT graduate and laser technology expert Dr. Patrick McCann, Ekips Technologies has developed the first user-friendly laser-based breathalyzer that will have a significant, immediate impact on the diagnosis, treatment and management of asthma, one the fastest growing of all diseases. It has proven successful in the measurement of nitric oxide (NO) in exhaled human breath, a biomarker molecule associated with the tissue inflammation experienced by asthma sufferers. Such measurements allow a more accurate diagnosis of asthma. In addition, routine monitoring of asthma disease severity is possible with these fast and simple breath measurements. Important uses include optimizing pharmaceutical treatment and ensuring therapy compliance.
The potential of this technology in asthma screening and asthma therapeutic monitoring is significant as the Ekips Breathmeter™ is currently the only reagent-free instrument that can rapidly measure trace NO concentrations during an exhalation. We believe the highly accurate laser technology will eventually replace spirometry as a screening and monitoring tool for pulmonary, allergy and immunology lung testing. The reagent-free feature of the Breathmeter™ is important since it allows easy implementation in clinical settings.
Ekips is presently sponsoring clinical trials in collaboration physicians at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center to develop additional breath tests such as one for early detection of lung cancer and measurement of specific biomarkers associated with schizophrenia.
This is not the first time we see diagnostic breathalyzer technology (see flashbacks below), but this is surely interesting.
Detailed illustration of the technology…
The product page…
Flashbacks: The Breathscanner 1.0; Electronic Nose Shows Promise for Lung CA Detection; E-nose to Detect Lung CA