Carbon Nanotubes Detect Lung Cancer Markers in the Breath

Nov 20, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- Using an array of nanotube devices, each coated with a different organic material, researchers at the Israel Institute of Technology have developed diagnostic system that may be able to diagnose lung cancer simply by sampling a patient’s breath. The results of this study, which was led by Hossam Haick, Ph.D., appear in the journal Nano Letters.

Dr. Haick and his collaborators first created individual devices consisting of random networks of single-walled carbon nanotubes coated with 1 of 10 different insulating nonpolymeric organic materials. The investigators used standard microprocessor fabrication techniques to create the sensors. Thanks to the different organic materials used to coat the nanotubes, each sensing device provided a unique response when exposed to wide variety of the more than 200 volatile organic chemicals present in human breath.

To calibrate the devices, the investigators captured the breath of 15 nonsmoking healthy patients and 15 individuals with stage 4 lung cancer. Next, they concentrated the organic compounds in each breath sample using a method known as solid phase microextraction and then analyzed each sample using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). GC-MS is a highly accurate technique that is too expensive and time consuming to find use as a routine diagnostic assay. The researchers then ran the same samples through their sensor array; the electrical output of the test devices changed in a way that was characteristic of the exact mixture of organic compounds found in the breath samples.

From these data, the investigators were able to distinguish between two response patterns from each of the 10 array members. There was no overlap in the response patterns between the healthy and lung cancer patients in these first tests. The researchers are now testing their system on a much larger group of patients and healthy subjects.

This work is detailed in the paper “Detecting simulated patterns of lung cancer biomarkers by random network of single-walled carbon nanotubes coated with nonpolymeric organic materials.” An abstract of this paper is available at the journal’s Web site.

Provided by National Cancer Institute

Explore further: Experiment and theory unite at last in debate over microbial nanowires

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Potential new breathalyzer for lung cancer screening

Feb 18, 2015

Researchers from Chongqing University in China have developed a high sensitive fluorescence-based sensor device that can rapidly identify cancer related volatile organic compounds—biomarkers found exclusively in the exhaled ...

3-D printers to make human body parts? It's happening

Feb 04, 2015

It sounds like something from a science fiction plot: So-called three-dimensional printers are being used to fashion prosthetic arms and hands, jaw bones, spinal-cord implants - and one day perhaps even living human body ...

Arsenic stubbornly taints many US wells, say new reports

Jan 30, 2015

Naturally occurring arsenic in private wells threatens people in many U.S. states and parts of Canada, according to a package of a dozen scientific papers to be published next week. The studies, focused mainly ...

Recommended for you

New nanodevice defeats drug resistance

Mar 02, 2015

Chemotherapy often shrinks tumors at first, but as cancer cells become resistant to drug treatment, tumors can grow back. A new nanodevice developed by MIT researchers can help overcome that by first blocking ...

Ultra-small block 'M' illustrates big ideas in drug delivery

Feb 26, 2015

By making what might be the world's smallest three-dimensional unofficial Block "M," University of Michigan researchers have demonstrated a nanoparticle manufacturing process capable of producing multilayered, precise shapes.

User comments : 0

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.