Breathalyzer Tech may Speed Cancer Diagnosis
A recent study released in a publication by the journal ACS Nano has shown that a new breathalyzer that has just recently been developed can potentially be used to help doctors more easily and quickly discover and give a diagnosis on 17 different diseases, including cancers of the lung such as mesothelioma.
The sophisticated technology behind this specialized tool makes use of the unique properties of microscopic compounds known as volatile organic compounds that are individualized to each specific condition and that the breathalyzer can analyze quickly and accurately. As a matter of fact, in some of the early tests that involved around 1400 patients, the new device could identify the diseases with a startling accuracy of 86 percent.
While this is not the first time that the presence of volatile organic compounds has been used to for the diagnosis of an illness, it is still the first time that this type of technology has been used to differentiate between cancers of the upper body, in contrast to a disease of the intestines or the liver at such a low cost and so quickly.
Volatile organic compounds are created within the human body by biological processes such as stress or inflammation. They are fed into the blood stream and from there make their way into the lungs. Due to this process, they are able to be detected in the breath. Because each organ in the body has a unique volatile organic compound that it produces when experiencing inflammation or undergoing stress, the new device can easily and effortlessly determine what organs or illness is involved by the manufacturing of the compounds.
Each exhaled breath has nearly a thousand volatile organic compounds in it. With just 13 of them programmed into the new device, the research team could differentiate between 17 different health conditions.
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