If breathalyzers can catch drunk drivers, can electronic sniffers catch sick patients? That’s what researchers from the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in New Delhi, India, and Next Dimension Technologies in Pasadena, California hope to test with their new Electronic Nose device.
The device, which recently received a $950,000 grant award from Grand Challenges Canada and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, immediately and non-invasively looks for specific biomarkers that are linked to tuberculosis in a person’s breath. The prototype, which is anticipated to be ready for testing in 2013, will be handheld and battery-powered and could cost only about $30.
If successful, the Electronic Nose could save up to 400,000 lives a year, especially in developing countries. The concept could also potentially be modified to detect diseases such as lung cancer and pneumonia.
Article from AFP: ‘TB sniffer’ offers hope of early diagnosis
Press release from Grand Challenges Canada: The “Electronic Nose”… (.pdf)