Cancer on the breath? The nose knows

May 16, 2011
Prof. Hossam Haick

A breath test for "sniffing out" cancer in a person's breath is a step closer to reality, according to a study recently published in the British Journal of Cancer. The study results show that the device developed by Prof. Hossam Haick of the Technion Department of Chemical Engineering and the Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute can identify chemical signals in the breath of cancer patients even those with difficult-to-detect head-and-neck cancer.

The Nanoscale Artifical Nose (NA-NOSE), as the device is called, consists of five gold nanoparticle sensors linked to software capable of detecting patterns of molecules inherent in people with cancer. Prof. Haick and his team hope that such a test could one day be used by general practitioners to provide instant cancer diagnoses.

"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 Prof. 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.”  Next up, he says, is testing these results in larger studies to determine if it could lead to a potential screening method for the disease.
 
More than 80 volunteers took part in the study, 22 of whom had various head-and-neck cancers, 24 of whom had lung cancer, and 36 who were healthy.  In previous tests, the NA-NOSE was also able to detect lung cancer and kidney diseases.
 
According to American Cancer Society statistics, there were 35,720 new cases of (including cancers of the eye, mouth, voice box and food pipe) in the U.S. in 2009. 

Explore further: Israeli engineers build artificial device capable of detecting cancer in breath

Related Stories

Scientists developing cancer breath test

August 11, 2010

Scientists working on a breath test to detect cancer said they were now able to identify different types of the disease, in research published Wednesday.

Recommended for you

Hydrogen from sunlight—but as a dark reaction

December 9, 2016

The storage of photogenerated electric energy and its release on demand are still among the main obstacles in artificial photosynthesis. One of the most promising, recently identified photocatalytic new materials is inexpensive ...

Cloud formation—how feldspar acts as ice nucleus

December 9, 2016

In the atmosphere, feldspar particles act as ice nuclei that make ice crystals grow in clouds and enable precipitation. The discovery was made by researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and University College ...

Why cryptophyte algae are really good at harvesting light

December 8, 2016

In an algae-eat-algae world, it's the single-celled photosynthetic organisms at the top (layer of the ocean) that absorb the most sunlight. Underneath, in the sublayers, are cryptophyte algae that must compete for photons ...

Chemical trickery corrals 'hyperactive' metal-oxide cluster

December 8, 2016

After decades of eluding researchers because of chemical instability, key metal-oxide clusters have been isolated in water, a significant advance for growing the clusters with the impeccable control over atoms that's required ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.