Breathalyzer may detect lung cancer
A new breathalyzer test, equipped with a ‘NaNose’ nanotech chip, can detect lung cancer tumors, and even identify it’s stage of progression. The device was developed by a team of Israeli, American and British cancer researchers. They tested the device on 358 patients who were either diagnosed with or at risk for lung cancer.
The device was able to detect lung cancer with 90 percent accuracy, even when the cancer nodule was small and hard to sample. It could even discriminate between subtypes of cancer. The device works by detecting the volatile organic compounds (VOCs), chemicals emitted by the tumors that evaporate in the air and make a scent. It could also tell the difference between subtypes and progression of the cancer, because cancer cells have a unique smell, or signature, and the bigger the tumor, the more potent the signature.
The device was able to sort healthy people from people with early-stage lung cancer 85 percent of the time, and healthy people from those with advanced-stage lung cancer 82 percent of the time. It could distinguish between early and advanced lung cancer 79 percent of the time.
Researchers hope that the device could lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment. The technology already has been licensed by a Boston firm and could be on the market within several years.