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Breathalyzer Machine for Lung Cancer

Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic are developing a special breathalyzer machine that can detect if a person has lung cancer. The Cleveland Leader reports:

Peter Mazzone, a pulmonologist at Cleveland Clinic, has developed a disposable piece of paper with 36 chemically sensitive dye spots that change color when exposed to a patients breath. Next, a computer scans the dots, looking for tell-tale color signatures.

Mazzone conducted tests on 143 people, some with cancer, and others without. And after using his new colored dot breathalyzer test, they found a color signature characteristic of 3 out of 4 patients with lung cancer. This is exciting news, and now the researchers are working on fine tuning the accuracy of the test by trying to identify the compounds exhaled by lung patients.

According to the report, scientists have found that cancer cells give off distinctive organic compounds, which are exhaled. Differences between the breath of a healthy person and the breath of a person with cancer can be detected using a complicated process of gas chromatography and mass spectrometry.

A Technology Review report on the Chicago trials said:

Lung cancer causes 160,000 deaths a year in the United States--more than any other cancer. Current diagnostic techniques including CT scans and needle biopsies are invasive and expensive and have a high risk of complications.

Other groups are also working on similar research. Here are some reports on the breathalyzer machine:

- A sensitive optical nose originally developed to uncover gas and oil reservoirs could soon be used as a breathalyzer to detect early stages of lung cancer thanks to scientists' efforts at Univ. of Glasgow and Univ. of Dundee, Scotland. Initially designed to measure ethane leaking from reservoirs, it may now be used to detect ethane in a cancer patient's breath.

- Lung cancer cells let off different compounds. Of course, we can’t tell the difference in smell. But there are ways to tell if these compounds are in someone’s breath. One way is with a trained dog. It has been reported that a trained dog can detect lung cancer 99% of the time!

Of course, having a dog sniffing for cancer in the doctor’s office is not ideal. So one group of scientists is working on a filter test that can find out if a patient has lung cancer by looking at the patient’s breath.

- Menssana Research reports that they have developed a breath test to detect lung cancer at an early stage. "We developed a breathalyzer that is one billion times more sensitive than those the police use to measure alcohol in the breath,” states Michael Phillips, M.D., CEO. “It detects around 200 different chemicals in a person's breath, and some of these chemicals are markers of cancer."  

May 3rd, 2007  

See also my report Guide to Buying the Best Breathalyzer. Check out Amazon.com for its breathalyzer best seller list and for lots of customer reviews. And go to Breathalyzer.net for the latest information on personal breathalyzers, along with promotions and special offers.

 

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