A simple new breathalyser test for cancer is being used in the United States with a reported accuracy rating of up to 84 per cent.
SV Doctor Costa talking to patient PAN TO woman patient breathing into tube
SV Doctor with inflated test-bags attaching them to apprantus
CU AND SV Doctor examining sample in test-tube (2 shots)
SV Specimen jars conveyed on belt through apparatus
SV Computer print-out
CU Doctor Costa speaks to interviewer (3 shots)
SV Laboratory assistants working
REPORTER: "Dr. Giovanni Costa's laboratory tests have indicated that people with cancer have a higher than normal amount of carbon dioxide in their breath. To test for it, patients take a mildly radioactive capsule, wait 20 hours, and then breathe into a simple device. The trace element is collected and analysed. Dr. Costa has tested 118 patients, and he has achieved an accuracy of about 84 per cent -- far above any other known test for all forms of cancer. And although Dr. Costa says he will not be satisfied until other institutions have verified his results, and several thousand people have been tested, he believes now that his breath test might some day be used as a mass screening test for cancer.
DR. COSTA: "I can see two advantages. One, the first, is very simple and could be made to be very inexpensive ... I think I can train a high-score person to administer the test properly ...and the test requires no efforts from the patient who undergoes the test -- if they can breathe, they can take the test.
REPORTER: "Assuming the results of your tests can be corroborated to your satisfaction, do you think it's possible that this can be taken to the public for like, a mass screening?
DR. COSTA: "If our results will stand up -- and this is a big if -- if our results will stand up, and if we can go from a radioactive tracer such as we use now, to a non-radioactive tracer -- and the technology for this is already available, only money is the thing that stands in our way -- then, if those two things are indeed true, then it will be very easy to screen large numbers of people for presence or absence of cancer.
REPORTER: "If further tests prove him right, Dr. Costa believes his cancer breath test can be made even simpler and more accurate."
Initials CL/1541 CL/1603
This film is serviced with a commentary by TVN reporter Josh Fishburn. A transcript appears overleaf.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: A simple new breathalyser test for cancer is being used in the United States with a reported accuracy rating of up to 84 per cent.
The test is based on the finding by Dr. Giovanni Costa, in laboratory experiments in Richmond, Virginia, that people with cancer have an abnormal amount of carbon dioxide in their breath. To determine this, patients take a mildly radioactive capsule, wait 20 hours, and then breathe into a simple device. The trace element then is collected and analysed.
So far, Dr. Costa has used the test on 118 patients, and his reported accuracy rating of about 84 per cent is far above that for other known test for all forms of cancer.