Sniffing out cancer with improved 'electronic nose' sensors

01-Oct-2015 - Israel

Scientists have been exploring new ways to "smell" signs of cancer by analyzing what's in patients' breath. One team now reports new progress toward this goal. The researchers have developed a small array of flexible sensors, which accurately detect compounds in breath samples that are specific to ovarian cancer.

Diagnosing cancer today usually involves various imaging techniques, examining tissue samples under a microscope, or testing cells for proteins or genetic material. In search of safer and less invasive ways to tell if someone has cancer, scientists have recently started analyzing breath and defining specific profiles of compounds in breath samples. But translating these exhaled disease fingerprints into a meaningful diagnosis has required a large number of sensors, which makes them impractical for clinical use. Hossam Haick and colleagues sought to address this problem.

The researchers developed a small, breath-diagnostic array based on flexible gold-nanoparticle sensors for use in an "electronic nose." The system - tested on breath samples from 43 volunteers, 17 of whom had ovarian cancer - showed an accuracy rate of 82 percent. The researchers say developing this method further would require larger-scale clinical testing. They add that the approach could also apply to diagnostics for other diseases.

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Topic world Diagnostics

Diagnostics is at the heart of modern medicine and forms a crucial interface between research and patient care in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. It not only enables early detection and monitoring of disease, but also plays a central role in individualized medicine by enabling targeted therapies based on an individual's genetic and molecular signature.

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Topic world Diagnostics

Topic world Diagnostics

Diagnostics is at the heart of modern medicine and forms a crucial interface between research and patient care in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. It not only enables early detection and monitoring of disease, but also plays a central role in individualized medicine by enabling targeted therapies based on an individual's genetic and molecular signature.

1 whitepaper