Electronic nose sniffs out cancer in blood samples with over 90% accuracy

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For the new study, the researchers used an e-nose to analyze samples of blood plasma for signs of cancers that are normally hard to detect, like pancreatic and ovarian cancers. Photo: Pexels


(Michael Irving/ New Atlas) — Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have developed an electronic nose (or e-nose) that may be able to sniff out signs of cancer from blood plasma samples. In tests, the device was able to detect a range of cancer types with over 90 percent accuracy.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are chemicals that are responsible for odors, with different sources releasing different mixtures. Sensitive instruments – such as your schnozz – can detect subtle differences in the makeup and ratio of these VOCs and identify whether that odor is coffee or carnations.

Over the years, scientists have investigated how VOCs given off by cancer could be detected as part of a diagnostic system. (…)

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