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Leading law firm Slater and Gordon has provided a $20,000 boost to cutting-edge research which aims to establish whether breath analysis can be used in a clinical setting to diagnose conditions such as lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma.

The study – a collaboration between doctors from St Vincent’s Hospital in Darlinghurst, Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick and The University of NSW - will evaluate the role of this non-invasive technology in diagnosing and monitoring these conditions.

Senior asbestos lawyer Joanne Wade said the project would receive $20,000 in funding from the Slater and Gordon Asbestos Research Fund to mark Asbestos Awareness Week.

“We provide this funding on behalf of our many clients who, as a result of exposure to asbestos, suffer conditions including lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma,” Ms Wade said.

“We hope that one day this important research will mean that these conditions can be more easily and less invasively diagnosed and monitored.

“Around 200 patients will be recruited to participate in a 12 month long trial process.”

Lead researcher Associate Professor Dr Deborah Yates, from the Department of Thoracic Medicine at St Vincent’s Hospital, said the science of breath analysis was a rapidly expanding field.

“We have used an electronic nose to analyse what we call ‘breath fingerprints’ to diagnose lung cancer and mesothelioma in the past. The preliminary results are very exciting,” Professor Yates said.

“These tests are extremely easy for patients to use – the process is very quick, there are no needles and no discomfort.

“If breath testing can be accurately relied upon to diagnose and monitor malignant conditions, it will make patients’ lives easier and potentially also allow rapid evaluation of new treatments.”