All Things CC:

All things Commuication & Computing….

Cancer Sniffing Sensors (& Dogs?)

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Chemistry, Big Data (collecting and matching sample) and Sensors are enabling commercial machines to detect cancers – and detect them accurately. It sounds almost science fiction but is true. Business Week’s Ashlee Vance has written an article on a startup, Metabolomx, and its cancer sniffing machines. 

The Metabolomx machine looks like a desktop PC with a hose attached. It sits on a cart that can be wheeled up to a patient, who is instructed to breathe in and out for about four minutes. The machine analyzes the breath and its volatile organic compounds, or VOCs—aerosolized molecules that, among other things, determine how something smells. Tumors produce their own VOCs, which pass into the bloodstream. The lungs create a bridge between the bloodstream and airways, so the breath exhaled by a patient will carry the VOC signatures of a tumor if one is present. “It may seem surprising, but it’s actually very straightforward,” says Paul Rhodes, the co-founder and chief executive officer at Metabolomx.

I can bet that from a desktop to a much smaller device that then interfaces with a smartphone or better still a Tablet such as the new iPad over Bluetooth LE is not far away. Interesting enough the inspiration originates from the fact that dogs can sniff cancer:

A few years ago researchers in California received widespread attention for showing that dogs can smell cancer on a human’s breath. With 99 percent accuracy the canines could detect if a person had lung or breast cancer, beating the best figures from standard laboratory tests. Subsequent studies confirmed the results and provided further evidence that dogs really are man’s best friend.

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Written by Ashu Joshi

March 31, 2012 at 1:13 pm

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