Instant Diagnosis through Technology


Reducing Treatment Costs, Improving Patient Outcomes

Services Rendered:

The Problem

Lung disease is a persistent worldwide health problem, with cases increasing year after year. By 2025, the World Health Organization estimates there will be 410 million patients with COPD, 2.5 million patients with lung cancer, and 400 million patients with asthma. Not only do these diseases bring great physical and emotional costs to sufferers and their families, there are also significant financial costs, with conservative estimated totals of at least $270B USD per year.

There are particular challenges within each disease as well. The World Health Organization predicts that COPD will be the third-leading cause of death by 2030, in part because it tends to be underdiagnosed. When it is caught, it’s almost always after symptoms already exist, making it more difficult to halt or ameliorate the progression of the disease. In addition, traditional methods of diagnosis, including bronchoalveolar lavage and biopsy, are invasive, costly, and involve patient risk. Even with non-invasive diagnostic methods, the results are often incomplete or inaccurate, requiring further testing.

Lung cancer is the leading cancer worldwide, and is among the most lethal forms of cancer; 7 out of 8 patients die within five years. Diagnosis is an especially important and problematic component of the disease – early detection is key to a positive treatment outcome, but the disease is often asymptomatic, manifesting only at advanced stages, and thus making successful treatment difficult, if not impossible. CT scanning is the only pre-screening tool currently available, but it has a high rate of false positives. In addition, scanning must be undergone yearly, exposing patients to radiation and thereby increasing overall cancer risk.

Asthma is the most common disease among children, though it is under-diagnosed and under-treated. This is because most asthmatic children develop the disease during pre-school years; however, there are currently no globally accepted reliable methods to confirm asthma in this age group. Thus, diagnosis in children under five is something of a trial-and-error guessing game, problematic because early prediction and management are crucial to effective treatment.

Treatment of all three diseases is also trial-and-error. Because of the limited information available with current diagnostic methods, treatment necessarily takes the form of the traditional medicine model; that is, “Will this treatment work for most patients?” This involves prescribing different doses of different drugs to see what works, with only 10%-25% of patients being successfully treated at the end of six weeks, and at least 35% referred to a pulmonary specialist, having made no progress in treatment.

All three diseases display a clear need for an accurate, non-invasive, early detection method, potentially saving billions of dollars and millions of lives year over year.

The Solution

Tecknoworks is proud to be the technology partner for the BreathBase system, a revolutionary diagnostic tool for COPD, lung cancer, and asthma that works by instantly analyzing the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in a patient’s breath. Diagnosis is simple, inexpensive, and non-invasive; patients simply exhale into the BreathBase eNose device. The resulting VOC measurements are then compared against results within our extensive online database, using proprietary artificial intelligence algorithms created by Tecknoworks. The final diagnostic report is complete within one minute.

VOCs are ideal for diagnosis because exhaled breath contains metabolic biomarkers of each disease, often measurable well before manifested symptoms. Upon patient exhalation, the cross-reactive sensors of the eNose use machine learning to automatically correct for the breath environment, determine diagnosis, and establish patient phenotype. Phenotype is a key element of treatment, as it allows clinicians to practice precision medicine; that is, targeting the right solution per patient, rather than costly and time-consuming trial-and-error.

Each patient’s breathprint is automatically added to our ever-growing database. This makes each subsequent diagnosis even more accurate and refined, as the artificial intelligence algorithm is continually self-optimized with each new measurement. In addition, the database allows for international collaboration among physicians and researchers working on treatments for these diseases.

Results and Application

BreathBase has achieved more than 90% accuracy in diagnosis of COPD, lung cancer, asthma, and healthy controls, well above the accuracy levels of all other diagnostic methods taken as a whole.

BreathBase allows for early diagnosis of COPD, which is crucial to limiting and managing the disease. Further, the technology can even identify pre-clinical disease, giving the patient the opportunity to take preventative action and perhaps eliminate the onset of the disease entirely. The International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease notes that using VOC biomarkers in COPD diagnosis is considered “a significant advance, as most people with COPD are diagnosed late in their disease, when available therapeutic and preventive measures are limited.”

The results and implications for lung cancer patients are even more consequential. The Journal of Clinical Medicine notes that “the positive outcome of lung cancer treatment is strongly related to the earliness of the diagnosis.” Here, BreathBase represents a major advance in successfully treating lung cancer, as it provides a diagnosis well before symptoms manifest, thus providing significantly increased chances of recovery. In addition, BreathBase eliminates the need for yearly CT scans, further reducing overall cancer risk, as well as medical costs.

With regard to asthma, BreathBase entirely solves the problem of accurately diagnosing children under 5. This not only eliminates the trial-and-error approach currently used, but more important, it allows for immediate and precise treatment. This in turn may prevent acute exacerbation of asthma, providing a higher level of long-term health and quality of life for those receiving early diagnosis and treatment.

BreathBase further provides for significant cost savings in treatment of all three diseases; at least a 30% reduction of current costs, according to our predictions. These savings will only increase as technology continues to advance and VOC diagnosis becomes standard. And with BreathBase itself being an inexpensive and easily-accessible diagnostic method, it can be used by clinicians in developing nations, where all three diseases (COPD in particular) have an extremely high incidence.

And while BreathBase was initially created to address these three most common lung diseases, the same technology can also be used to diagnose a range of other diseases, including diabetes, tuberculosis, cystic fibrosis, liver disease, and other cancers. The artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms created by Tecknoworks are specifically designed to be secure, scalable, and immediately ready for use beyond an academic setting.

Exhaled breath analysis has the potential to completely transform the current approach to disease diagnosis and treatment across the globe. We envision a world where immediate diagnosis and precision medicine are available to all, through the combined power of machine learning and human collaboration.


American Cancer Society. The global economic cost of cancer. 2010.

Capuano R, Catini A, Paolesse R, Di Natale C. Sensors for lung cancer diagnosis. Journal of Clinical Medicine. 2019;8(235).

Ford ES, Murphy LB, Khavjou O, Giles WH, Holt JB, Croft JB. Total and state-specific medical and absenteeism costs of COPD among adults aged 18 years in the United States for 2010 and projections through 2020. CHEST. 2015;147(1):31-35.

Lee YJ, Fujisawa T, Kim CK. Biomarkers for Recurrent Wheezing and Asthma in Preschool Children. Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Research. 2019;11(1):16-28.

Nunes C, Pereira AM, Morais-Almeida M. Asthma costs and social impact. Asthma Research and Impact. 2017;3(1).

O’Reilly P, Bailey W. Clinical use of exhaled biomarkers in COPD. International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. 2007;2(4):403-408.

World Health Organization. Burden of COPD.

We ensure low risk, high ROI, and a true competitive edge.