“Electronic nose” detects cancer
The development of breath tests that could detect head-and-neck cancer have made some advancement, according to Pharma Times.
Researchers from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology conducted a small study in which they took breath samples from 82 people from three groups: head-and-neck cancer patients, lung cancer patients and healthy people. The team then examined the differences in the molecules present in the exhaled breath of each group using “tailor-made detection equipment” called the Nano Artificial NOSE (NA-NOSE).
The researchers found the NA-NOSE was able to distinguish between molecules found in the exhaled breath of head-and-neck cancer patients and healthy volunteers as well as between lung cancer patients and healthy controls. Additionally, the NA-NOSE was able to detect differences between the two cancer groups.
Researcher Hossam Haick said there is “an urgent need to develop new ways to detect head-and-neck cancer because diagnosis of the disease is complicated, requiring specialist examinations.” Diagnosis is often late, because symptoms are not specific; yet, patients often develop a second primary tumor that can affect the entire respiratory system.
Lesley Walker, Cancer Research U.K.’s director of cancer information, said “these interesting initial results show promise” but noted that “it’s important to be clear that this is a small study, at a very early stage.”
The study has been published in the British Journal of Cancer.