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20 April 2011 BBC

Breath test to detect cancer

A breath test that can sniff-out cancer is a step closer to reality, according to a preliminary study.

Image Credit: UCDAVIS.

About 80 volunteers took part in the Israeli research, published in the British Journal of Cancer.

Of these 22 had various head-and-neck cancers, 24 had lung cancer and 36 were healthy.

The prototype breath test uses a chemical method to spot markers of cancer present in the breath.

The hope is that one day such a test could be used in a GP's surgery to give an instant diagnosis.

'Urgent need'

Researchers at the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology - are working on a device called the nano artificial nose.

Lead researcher, Professor Hossam Haick, said: "There's an urgent need to develop new ways to detect head-and-neck cancer because diagnosis of the disease is complicated, requiring specialist examinations.

"We've shown that a simple 'breath test' can spot the patterns of molecules which are found in head-and-neck patients in a small, early study.

Source: BBC /...

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