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Sniffing out cancer with improved 'electronic nose' sensors

Date:
September 30, 2015
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Scientists have been exploring new ways to 'smell' signs of cancer by analyzing what's in patients' breath. In a new study, one team now reports new progress toward this goal. The researchers have developed a small array of flexible sensors, which accurately detect compounds in breath samples that are specific to ovarian cancer.
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Scientists design a new way to detect signs of ovarian cancer in patients’ breath.
Credit: American Chemical Society

Scientists have been exploring new ways to "smell" signs of cancer by analyzing what's in patients' breath. In ACS' journal Nano Letters, one team now reports new progress toward this goal. The researchers have developed a small array of flexible sensors, which accurately detect compounds in breath samples that are specific to ovarian cancer.

Diagnosing cancer today usually involves various imaging techniques, examining tissue samples under a microscope, or testing cells for proteins or genetic material. In search of safer and less invasive ways to tell if someone has cancer, scientists have recently started analyzing breath and defining specific profiles of compounds in breath samples. But translating these exhaled disease fingerprints into a meaningful diagnosis has required a large number of sensors, which makes them impractical for clinical use. Hossam Haick and colleagues sought to address this problem.

The researchers developed a small, breath-diagnostic array based on flexible gold-nanoparticle sensors for use in an "electronic nose." The system -- tested on breath samples from 43 volunteers, 17 of whom had ovarian cancer -- showed an accuracy rate of 82 percent. The researchers say developing this method further would require larger-scale clinical testing. They add that the approach could also apply to diagnostics for other diseases.

The authors acknowledge funding from the Horizon 2020 ICT Program.


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Materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Nicole Kahn, Ofer Lavie, Moran Paz, Yakir Segev, Hossam Haick. Dynamic Nanoparticle-Based Flexible Sensors: Diagnosis of Ovarian Carcinoma from Exhaled Breath. Nano Letters, 2015; 150911115224008 DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b03052

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Sniffing out cancer with improved 'electronic nose' sensors." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 September 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150930092513.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2015, September 30). Sniffing out cancer with improved 'electronic nose' sensors. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 26, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150930092513.htm
American Chemical Society. "Sniffing out cancer with improved 'electronic nose' sensors." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150930092513.htm (accessed May 26, 2017).

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