Menu
Science and Life
Runway reveals how pterodactyls land
Stem cell researchers see red
War's end opens up Angolan 'Jurassic Park'
Not all alcoholic drinks are the same
Fewer mosquitoes may be a bad thing
Prehistoric tail swingers had sweet spot
Astronomers bust star ratio myth
Sun causes 'La Nina-like effect' on earth
Three genes key to most dog hair types
Manure major source of greenhouse gas
Nanoparticle test may detect lung cancer
Pulsar burns longest ever cosmic trail
Mysterious weather pulses fuel cyclones
Technology makes valuing opals easier
Doubt cast on cannabis, schizophrenia link
Whistling feathers sound predator alarm
Climate may need emergency fix: report
Africa tops climate change risk list
Mesozoic 'Giraffe' unearthed in China
Cannibalism feeds galactic growth
'Climate' genes leave species vulnerable
'Thunder thighs' protect your heart: study
Daylight saving 'causes more accidents'
One-sided animals more successful
  Nanoparticle test may detect lung cancer
A sensor made with gold nanoparticles can detect lung cancer in a patient's breath before it shows up on an x-ray, say Israeli scientists.

The device, which the developers say would be cheap enough for everyday use by family doctors. It may also offer a way to screen for a disease not usually diagnosed until it has spread and is no longer curable.

It uses sensors based on gold nanoparticles to detect volatile organic compounds (VOC) that lung cancer patients have in high levels in exhaled breath.

Breath testing is already recognised as a way of linking specific VOCs in exhaled breath to certain medical conditions.

In 2006, researchers found dogs could be trained to smell cancer on the breath of patients with 99% accuracy.

Dr Hossam Haick of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, says he hoped it could soon allow doctors to have a simple test at hand to screen people during routine appointments.
Inexpensive

"Conventional diagnostic methods for lung cancer are unsuitable for widespread screening because they are expensive and occasionally miss tumours," write Haick and colleagues in Nature Nanotechnology.

Various other methods exist to measure VOCs, including a breath test using colour spots, but existing techniques are often expensive, slow and sometimes require the breath to be concentrated or dehumidified first.

"This device is not at all expensive. The whole idea in this development was to devise something very sensitive, and very cheap and very portable," says Haick.

Lung cancer kills 1.3 million people a year and is the leading cause of cancer death across the world. Only 15% of patients live more than five years, in part because the disease is usually diagnosed so late.

The device developed by Haick and his colleagues is a nine-sensor array consisting of gold nanoparticles combined with different organic groups that respond to various VOCs released by lung tumours.

They tested 56 healthy people and 40 patients who had been diagnosed with lung cancer using conventional methods.

They found the sensor could distinguish the breath of lung cancer patients from that of the control group with more than 86% accuracy.

Haick says the patented device needed to be more rigorously tested and obtain approval from drug licensing authorities before it could go into production.

"I would say that could take three to five years," he says.
Echidna ancestors swam with platypuses
Volleyball middle players jump to the max
Roaches hold their breath to stay alive
Suspected Trojan war-era couple found
Dust storm born out of flooding rains
Droughts and flooding rains to intensify
Gene study reveals Indian origins
Malaria drugs may get new lease of life
HIV vaccine breakthrough 'gives hope'
Anglo-Saxon treasure trove unearthed
Cold Aussie dinos hid underground
Sichuan quake once-in-4000-year event
Stem cells point to space ills
Viking 2 came close to finding H2O
Working mums' kids less healthy
Komodo dragon had Australian origins
Bacteria engineered to draw pictures
Samoan tsunami caused by 'shallow quake'
'Academic doping' set to rise: expert
Bird disease struck down T. rex
Mini sats to improve Earth observation
Oldest human ancestor unveiled
Amber gives clues to origin of flowers
Fungus feasted on mass extinction
New disease identified in pet turtles
Brittle bone genes revealed
Pioneers of light win physics Nobel
Antioxidants may raise diabetes risk
 
Astronomers get neutron star's measure
Bioprospecting needs ecologists: expert
Saturated fats linked to Alzheimer's
Gecko tails dance to their own tune
Cartoons set chimps yawning
Virus may cause prostate cancer: study
Researchers perfect quantum memory
Australian lacewings build toughest silk
NO enzymes help bacteria resist antibiotics
Hikers' socks give weeds a free ride
Migrating birds chill to conserve energy
Borders tell tales on land management
Forget foreplay, size does matter: study
Shower heads home to nasty microbes
Saturn home to the perfect storm
Crazy ants upsetting island ecosystem
New call for e-waste controls
Gene tech helps dandelions ooze rubber
New insights into Greenland icesheet
Mini T. rex ancestor found in China
Rare meteorite find in Australian outback
Scientists uncover how bugs evade capture
World's deltas subsiding, says study
'Quiet' Sun continues to affect Earth