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Israeli scientists develop artificial nose to identify cancers

09-07-2010 14:23 BJT

JERUSALEM, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- Israeli scientists have developed what they are touting as an artificial nose capable of identifying various kinds of cancer, local daily Yediot Aharonoth reported on Monday.

Israeli scientists have developed what they are touting as an artificial
nose capable of identifying various kinds of cancer, local daily Yediot
Aharonoth reported on Monday.(File Photo)

Under development at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, the device contains 14 sensors and is capable of identifying different types of common cancer with high accuracy, according to a recent clinical trial.

The technology, said the report, was inspired by dogs' unique ability to identify malignant tumors at an early stage by sniffing a sick person's breath.

Head researcher Dr. Hussam Haik of the Technion's nano- materials lab said that a dog's extra-sensitive nose can pick up molecules produced by a malignant tumor.

The molecules, which are able to penetrate into the human circulatory system, reach the lungs and are then exhaled. The artificial nose is as close as it comes to replicating the animal' s olfactory acuity.

Approximately seven million people die of cancer every year around the world, with bladder, breast, lung and prostate cancers afflicting developed countries especially hard.

The clinical research involved having people exhale into a bag equipped with sensors that analyze the chemical elements given off by a tumor and are displayed on a computerized graph. The researchers then compare the results with known patterns of cancer in order to determine if the subject is healthy or ill. At the more advanced stage, the device can reportedly pinpoint the exact type of cancer, whether of the bladder, breast, lung or prostate variety.

Researchers said that the artificial nose may one day be able to determine the stage at which a cancer has developed in a sick person, the effectiveness of the given treatment, and identifying early signs of the disease reappearing following chemotherapy.

Haik said its artificial nose will require additional trials before it receives an official seal of approval. When that happens, the technology could play a critical role in the early detection of malignant tumors and significantly improve patients' chances of a successful recovery.

Results of the study have been published in the September issue of The British Journal of Cancer.

Editor:Zheng Limin |Source: Xinhua

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