Scientists at Technion (“Israel Institute of Technology”) are reporting in the latest issue of Nature Nanotechnology the development of a device capable of distinguishing the breath of patients with lung cancer from those free of the disease. The volatile organic compounds, some of which might be markers for the lung CA, are notoriously hard to detect because of the low concentration of molecules in the exhalant air. The breakthrough that Technion investigators made was to use gold nanoparticles as detectors, and that has yielded promising results in an early clinical study.
MIT Technology Review reports:
Using breath samples from 40 healthy volunteers and 56 lung-cancer patients, the group used the sensors to identify which biomarkers would collectively act as an accurate sign of lung-cancer signature. After training the sensors to identify the signature and testing it again, Haick and his colleagues found that their device could reliably differentiate between cancerous and healthy breath. They’re now testing the device on a larger group of people in various stages of the disease and believe they’ll be ready to start clinical trials within two or three years.
Preliminary tests indicate that the gold-nanoparticle sensors can not only differentiate among stages of lung cancer, they can detect distinct signatures for other ailments, such as liver failure. Haick’s group has even tested the electronic nose above colonies of cells grown in culture. This study found that while the sensor was able to sniff out compounds already known to be in breath, other lung-cancer-associated VOCs weren’t detected.
Read on at the MIT Tech Review…
More from Nanowerk…
Abstract in Nature Nanotechnology: Diagnosing lung cancer in exhaled breath using gold nanoparticles