At the American Chemical Society meeting investigators from Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, PA presented findings of a study looking into identifying chemical markers of basal cell carcinoma that can be detected using a standard gas chromatographer/mass spectrometer .
From MIT Technology Review:
Working with dermatologists at the University of Pennsylvania, Gallagher and Preti recruited 11 people with basal cell carcinoma for the study, as well as controls matched for age, gender, and ethnicity. The volunteers went through a weeklong “wash-out” process in which they used fragrance-free shampoo and soap and wore T-shirts provided by the researchers to eliminate odors from external sources.
The researchers then collected odor samples by placing a funnel with an absorbent fiber over the volunteers’ skin for 30 minutes. They also washed the skin with an alcohol solution to collect compounds sitting on the surface. “We found two chemicals in particular that were significantly different when you compared a cancer patient with a healthy subject,” Gallagher says. Both compounds were present in the healthy volunteers, but one compound was at a higher concentration and the other at a lower concentration above the tumors in the cancer patients.
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