It is known that dogs can smell tumors, because there are distinct chemicals produced by a cancer mass when it surpasses a certain size. Recently a team of Israeli, American, and British cancer researchers have developed a device to detect lung cancer, just by “sniffing” it. The device can even identify the stage to which the cancer has progressed, and in some cases, the subtype of cancer.
The inventor, Prof. Hossam Haick has been working on what he calls the ‘NA-NOSE’ since 2007, and the device has been proven in international clinical trials to differentiate between different types and classifications of cancer with up to 95 percent accuracy. Lung cancer tumors produce chemicals called volatile organic compounds, which easily evaporate into the air and produce a discernible scent profile. Prof. Haick harnessed nanotechnology to develop a highly sensitive microchip to detect the unique “signature” of the scent in exhaled breath.
The value of the NA-NOSE technolog can be used at three different stages. The first, and most critical, is advanced screening. The earlier cancer is detected, the better the survival rate. The second stage is detailed diagnosis and monitoring during the cancer treatment: a simple breath analysis could mean less radiation or fewer biopsies. And finally, it can be used following successful treatment, to be aware of any signs that the cancer may be recurring.
Current diagnostic tests for lung cancer (bronchoscope biopsy, pulmonary puncture and computer tomography (CT scan) are unsatisfactory, since they often identify tumors at late stages of the disease. They occasionally miss tumors and sometimes provide high rates of false positives, a fact that leads to over-utilization of the medical system and to unnecessary medical procedures.
Lung cancer is the world’s number one killer cancer in the world today, with more deaths than the next three most common cancers combined (colon, breast, and pancreatic). Lung cancer does not only affect smokers. Most of us in cities, breathe enough pollution to to increase their risk of developing lung cancer.
There is a high chance that the NA-NOSE may not be accepted by the medical system, because it will threaten the investments that have been made in current equipment such as X-rays and CAT-scanners, as well as losing the economic income from biopsies. Meanwhile, a new, smaller version of the device is being developed that can plug into a personal computer’s USB port. I am all for allowing normal people more freedom to take responsibility for their health if they wish to. This means giving them more options than currently available through our medical system as it is. http://www.medicaldesignbriefs.com/component/content/article/mdb/features/20454
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Consult a licensed medical practitioner if you are in any way concerned about your health.