Electronic Nose Sniffs Blood, Not Breath, For Ovarian Cancer

Electronic nose (doesn't really look like a nose!): image via abc.net.auElectronic nose (doesn't really look like a nose!): image via abc.net.auFirst, dogs were trained to detect cancer by sniffing the breath of cancer victims and their cancer free cohorts.  But that only worked in detecting some cancers.  Then, medical researchers adapted NASA's technology of its electronic nose, for cancer detection purposes, but still the breath detection tests had positive results for only four types of cancers: lung, breast, bowel, and prostrate cancer.

These four kinds of cancers are very common, so the impact of the electronic nose breath tests in their detection is not to be minimized.  Furthermore, the team from Technion Israel Institute of Technology is continuing to develop its electronic breath detector to identify all kinds of cancers.

But recent research conducted at three universities in Sweden focused on the detection of cancer through the odors of blood tissue rather than breath.  Specifically focused on ovarian cancer, the head researcher, György Horvath, had used specially trained dogs to detect the scent of ovarian cancer, normal tissue, and other gynaecological cancers from blood samples.  He found that indeed ovarian cancer has a specific scent that is separate from other gynaecological cancers. 

In the current study, published in the journal Future Oncology, Horvath and his colleagues used an available electronic nose to identify ovarian cancer tissue and normal tissue.  They succeeded and the test provided the information they needed to begin the development of an even more sensitive nose. 

"Or goal is to be able to screen blood samples from apparently healthy women and so detect ovarian cancer at an early stage when it can still be cured," Horvath said.

'Cure' is a word not often heard in association with ovarian cancer. It is a cancer generally diagnosed much too late for a cure to be a reasonable outcome.  

Related read: Electronic Nose Finally Surpasses Dog's Ability to Detect Cancer


via Medical News Today