Research scientists from Israel and Germany have developed a new sensor that may help identify multiple sclerosis (MS) in patients suspected to have the disease and also keep track on the progress of the illness. According to a letter in ACS Chemical Neuroscience, the sensor relies on a “cross-reactive array of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and single wall carbon nanotube bilayers” to differentiate volatile organic compounds that mark for MS from the rest of exhaled breath.
The team also believes that the sensor will not only help with disease identification and progression monitoring, but may also aid in screening for patients that would be candidates for immunotherapy techniques.
From the study abstract:
The sensors showed excellent discrimination between hexanal, 5-methyl-undecane, and other confounding volatile organic compounds.
Results obtained from a clinical study consisting of 51 volunteers showed that the sensors could discriminate between multiple sclerosis and healthy states from exhaled breath samples with 85.3% sensitivity, 70.6% specificity, and 80.4% accuracy.