A group of scientists in Georgia revealed a breathalyzer that can “smell cancer” by identifying compounds present in the saliva of people with the disease.
The device developed by Charlene Bayer at Georgia Tech and Geetha Vallabhaneni at Emory was successful in identifying lung cancer and breast cancer about 80 per cent of the time.
The device works by detecting breath volatile organic compounds, which are different in people with cancer.
The Georgia Tech website explains how the device works:
As a patient breathes into the device, chemical compounds are trapped and examined by a sensor. The researchers’ sensing methodology combines gas chromatography – a technique for separating complex compounds – with mass spectrometry, which identifies the chemical makeup of a substance. Specific patterns in the compounds are then found and used to determine whether or not the disease is present.
The device is important because it could detect cancer earlier, save people money they would have spent on CAT scans and offer immediate results in a doctor’s office.
The Daily Mail reported the device would cost $100, compared with the current $800 tests for breast cancer.
Here’s a picture of the simple device:
Photo: Georgia Tech
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.