In this work lung cancer is introduced along with the current detection methods. The inadequacies
of the current situation are highlighted along with the need for better detection technologies that
would allow for a more rigorous testing regime to be implemented. Metabolism and metabolites are
introduced as potential biomarkers. The advanced detection techniques mass spectrometry (MS)
and differential mobility spectrometry (DMS) are introduced and discussed with regard to being a
fieldable device. The methods applicable to processing data generated by these instruments are
discussed. Finally the research objectives are highlighted.
The science of breath sampling is discussed along with the considerations when engaging in breath
analysis research. Sampling and trapping of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is discussed with
particular emphasis on the adaptive breath sampler which was used in this work. The benefits of a
dual detector instrument allowing for analysis of a single sample using both MS and DMS are
The design and implementation of a parallel, two detector system is outlined including the
intricacies of balancing the two columns that operate at different pressures and developing a mount
Processing DMS data currently lags behind the current hardware available as there are no methods
that allow the full data surface to be utilised. This work outlines a method for transforming DMS
data from three dimensions to two dimensions while retaining the full information contained within
the data surface. This method was tested with generated data sets to show its’ utility and compared
to the current standard processing method using real data sets.
An understanding of all aspects of a clinical research project is vital to ensure the smooth running
and completion of the project. The currently required documentation for an outside researcher to
work within the NHS are detailed along with the expected timeframe for each step of designing,
gaining ethical approval and implementing the research. The use of Gantt charts and work flow
diagrams is highlighted and examples are given.
An initial inspection of the data produced by a pilot study shows that there a several challenges that
must be overcome, these are contamination and artefact peaks, retention time shifting, unresolved
peaks, differing intensities in similar samples and the complexities of correctly identifying
compounds found in breath samples. These are discussed and a workflow is highlighted.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.