Electronic nose smells cancer

Washington: Scientists have used electronic nose to confirm that ovarian cancer tissue and healthy tissue smell different.

Gyorgy Horvath from the University of Gothenburg, and researchers from the University of Gavle and KTH Royal Institute of Technology conducted the study.

Previously scientists used specially trained dogs to demonstrate that ovarian cancers emit a specific scent. The dogs were able to use this scent to distinguish between ovarian cancer tissue and both normal healthy abdominal tissue and other gynaecological cancers.

The discovery that the blood of patients with ovarian cancer also has this same specific scent was published in the journal BMC Cancer.

Together with Thomas Lindblad from KTH and Jose Chilo from Gavle University, Horvath worked on detecting this scent using an existing electronic nose at KTH.

"We``ve managed to detect and register the scent from a form of ovarian cancer, and the scent from a healthy Fallopian tube and healthy womb muscle.

"This technical confirmation of a cancer scent will have major practical implications - a sufficiently sensitive and specific method could save hundreds of lives a year in Sweden alone," said Horvath.

A more sensitive electronic scent detector had been recently tested. The basic structure is the same as with existing electronic noses, but they have added several new components to increase its sensitivity.

"Our 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," added Horvath.

The findings were published in the journal Future Oncology.


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