Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Capital Business
Capital Business

Features

Breathalyzer test detects cancer

PARIS, Aug 30 – Scientists in Israel have devised a portable breath tester that detects lung cancer with 86 percent accuracy, according to a study released Sunday.

The device could provide an early warning system that flags the disease before tumours become visible in X-rays, the researchers reported in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

"Our results show great promise for fast, easy and cost-effective diagnosis and screening of lung cancer," they said.

The sensor uses gold nanoparticles to detect levels of so-called volatile organic compounds (VOC) — measured in a few parts per billion — that become more elevated in cancer patients.

Early detection of lung cancer dramatically increases the odds of survival. Currently, only 15 percent of cases are discovered before the disease has begun to spread.

Screening via computerised tomography (CT) or chest x-rays can reduce lung cancer deaths, but is expensive and exposes patients to undesirable radiation.

In the study, a team of researchers lead by Hossam Haick of the Israel Institute of Technology took breath samples from 56 healthy people and 40 lung cancer patients.

To avoid contaminants, participants repeatedly filled their lungs to capacity for five minutes through a filter that removed 99.99 percent of organic compounds from the air, a process called "lung washout".

Then the scientists hunted for VOCs present only in the cancer patients that could serve as biomarkers for the disease.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

They found 33 compounds that appeared in at least 83 percent of the cancer group, but in fewer than 83 percent of the control group.

The next step was to design an assembly of chemical sensors using gold nanoparticles measuring five nanometres across.

An average strand of human hair is about 100,000 nanometres in width.

After "training" the arrays to detect a selection of the cancer-specific VOCs, Haick and his team tested it on both artificial mixtures of biomarkers and real human breath.

The devices were able to "distinguish between the breath of lung cancer patients and healthy controls, without the need for de-humidification or pre-concentration of the lung cancer biomarkers," they concluded.

They also suggested the technique could be extended to other forms of cancer.

"Given the impact of the rising incidence of cancer on health budgets worldwide, the proposed technology will be a significant saving for both private and public health expenditure," they say.

Lung cancer claims some 1.3 million lives worldwide each year, accounting for nearly 18 percent of all deaths from cancer, according to the World Health Organisation.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.
Click to comment
Advertisement

More on Capital Business

Executive Lifestyle

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 12 – The country’s super wealthy individuals are increasing their holding of bonds, gold and cash, a new report by Knight...

Ask Kirubi

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 9 – Businessman and industrialist Dr. Chris Kirubi has urged members of the public to exercise extreme caution when making any...

Headlines

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 18 – Commercial Banks have been ordered to provide relief to borrowers on their personal loans, with loans eligible from March...

Ask Kirubi

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 24 – Businessman and industrialist Dr. Chris Kirubi is set to own half of Centum Investment Company PLC, following a go-ahead...

Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun17 – Kenya’s tea leaves manufacturer Kericho Gold, has been awarded the Superbrands Seal by Superbrands East Africa for their quality variety...

Coronavirus

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 22 – Airtel Kenya is offering free internet access for students in order to enable continued learning at home in the...

Coronavirus

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 13 – As the local telecommunications industry gears up to roll out 5G networks in the country, the Communications Authority of...

Headlines

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 16 – The World Bank has given the Kenyan government USD 60 Million (Sh6.1 billion) to help combat the deadly coronavirus pandemic...