The programme Extramural (point of care) diagnostics will focus on two related areas:
- screening and prevention (early detection);
- point of care) diagnostics in general practice.
One of the technical approaches in both areas is the analysis of exhaled breath. The research on screening and prevention will focus on the early diagnosis of (chronic) diseases, the hazardous consequences of major life events, and lifestyle interventions. The main challenges in the field of acute (functional) diagnostics are to detect infectious diseases and cardiovascular diseases. The challenge for exhaled breath analysis is to develop practically usable devices that enable an earlier, better and more refined diagnosis of several chronic diseases.
Examples of application
Examples of applications include early and reliable asthma diagnosis in young children, early detection of COPD or lung cancer in adults, and a rapid diagnosis of airway infections in children and adults.
We expect the following results for the medium term:
- there will be a non-invasive instrument for the rapid diagnosis of respiratory infections and lung diseases, which is ready for implementation in general practice;
- at least three reliable (in the hands of GPs), accurate, cost-effective and rapid point-of-care devices. These devices will enable GP’s the early detection and diagnosis of potentially life threatening cardiovascular and infectious diseases, as well as the efficient screening on risk factors for these conditions.
In the longer run we expect to develop an instrument capable of assessing relevant parameters (e.g. symptoms, lung function and breath analysis) in the home situation, which gives direct treatment advice to patients and communicates with a medical centre where feedback on diagnosis and treatment can be given.