Electronic Nose May Sniff Out Head, Neck and Lung Cancers

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According to a preliminary study, a breath test that can sniff out cancer may be a realistic possibility, the BBC News reported.

Researchers at the Israel Institute of Technology are working on a “nano artificial nose” device that is able to identify chemical signals of cancer in the breath of patients with lung or head and neck cancer.

The breath test uses a chemical method to spot markers of cancer present in breath.

Eighty volunteers were involved with the study.  Of these, 22 had various head and neck cancers, 24 had lung cancer, and 36 were healthy.

Scientists hope that this method will someday be used by doctors to give an instant diagnosis of head and neck cancers, which are often diagnosed too late and are therefore more difficult to treat successfully.

“There’s an urgent need to develop new ways to detect head-and-neck cancer because diagnosis of the disease is complicated, requiring specialist examinations,” said lead researcher, Professor Hossam Haick.

“We’ve shown that a simple ‘breath test’ can spot the patterns of molecules which are found in head-and-neck patients in a small, early study.  We now need to test these results in larger studies to find if this could lead to a potential screening method for the disease.”

Click here to read more from the BBC News.