New machine can "smell" cancer

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Previous research, including a study conducted at the Huminatas Research Center in Milan, Italy in May 2014, has verified the ability of trained dogs to detect cancer in urine samples purely by smell. In the most recent study researchers collected 677 samples of urine (320 of them positive for prostate cancer and 357 without cancer) and the canines smelling the samples identified the prostate cancer an incredible 99% of the time and those without cancer 97% of the time.

Despite this success using dogs, the animals can present problems when used in a medical setting and there has been interest in developing a mechanical "sniffer" that can duplicate this success rate. A team of Finnish researchers, led by Dr. Niku Oksala of the University of Tampere, have conducted trials with a device that performs an atmosphere analysis of the "headspace" above urine samples on the molecular level, and tests it for organic compounds commonly associated with prostate cancer. Their testing method demonstrated a successful detection rate of 78%, and a specificity of 67%. The investigators have identified 30 molecule compounds associated with tumors that are easily detectable, and they are working to refine the process more. The research group feels that the process can be expanded beyond prostate cancer to detect a wide variety of cancers. 

New machine can "smell" cancer
New machine can "smell" cancer
(CNN) -- It's the second most common cancer for men worldwide, but prostate cancer remains difficult to diagnose, with standard blood tests criticized for delivering a high rate of false positives. Although the study is by no means conclusive, it joins a growing body of research suggesting dogs could be able to smell out cancers.
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