NanoBreath™. High quality affordable detection of Helicobacter pylori infection in the developing world


  • Oxford MicroMedical Ltd (OMM) was formed in September 2012 to develop a medical breath testing system to detect the presence of Helicobacter pylori infection (H. pylori).
  • This bacterial infection of the stomach is widespread throughout the world and is particularly prevalent in developing countries.
  • H. pylori is now known as the principal agent in the formation of stomach ulcers and ultimately stomach cancer.
  • There is consequently a strong demand for a reliable, cheap and portable test for H. pylori infection.
  • Once reliably identified, the infection can be successfully treated using the so-called Triple Therapy involving two antibiotics and an antacid drug.

NanoBreath™: The Medical Challenge

  • Helicobacter pylori is one of the most common medical infections.
  • Spiral-shaped bacterium that infects well over 30% of the world’s population.
  • About 40% of people in the UK have the bacteria in their stomach.
  • Higher infection rates correlate with: crowded living conditions / poor sanitation / personal hygiene / water supply (~ 80% in developing world).
  • Most infections occur in childhood.


NanoBreath™ is a low cost, robust and portable, medical breath testing system which is to be used with the Urea Breath Test, the ‘gold standard’ diagnostic test for H. pylori.

The NanoBreath system has the capability to measure “heavy” carbon dioxide in patient breath samples. It will, typically, test 42 patients per day each requiring two test kits for use on the NanoBreath system.

This disruptive development will allow testing and diagnosis to be transferred to the point of care in a physician’s surgery or clinic, rather than being sent away to a central test laboratory requiring much more complex and expensive equipment and with a significant delay in diagnosis.

NanoBreathTM will be a disruptive technology. It will make the use of UBT for H. pylori diagnosis affordable, portable, convenient and widely available. It will expand the market for UBT that is currently constrained by high cost and inaccessibility.

How NanoBreath™ works

  1. A baseline patient breath sample is collected and 13CO2 is measured.
  2. The patient then swallows a urea pill labelled with 13C.
  3. If present, H. pylori will metabolise the urea resulting in a positive shift in the 13CO2
  4. The patient’s breath is collected again 20 minutes after the labelled urea pill is taken.


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