Machine Detects Cancer By Sniffing It Out

A four-year collaboration between the University of the West of England (UWE), University of Liverpool, and Bristol’s Urological institute has resulted in a new diagnostic test that can “smell” bladder cancer in its early stages. Called the “Odoreader,” it uses a sensor that responds to chemicals found in the gas emitted from urine, which it profiles, allowing the identification of the presence of cancer cells. Unlike other forms of the disease — such as cervical, or breast — bladder cancer has no biomarkers, making early detection difficult. Similarly, it has been believed that dogs might be able to smell cancer in patients, but the practicalities have meant this isn’t a realistic option. Odoreader, on the other hand, would allow local clinics and doctor’s surgeries to diagnose patients reliably in just 30 minutes. Their research is also investigating that the same technique might be effective in detecting other cancers such as prostate while broader testing is completed.

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