Prostate cancer is one of the leading killers in men. One reason for this is that so few go for a preventive, but invasive, medical check up. The late detection of prostate cancer often means the removal of a part or all of the organ, but now there is some clever technology which should aid early detection.
At a research facility in Barcelona a ‘new artificial nose’ is being developed, which scientists say could actually smell cancer molecules. The nano-technology is being developed by European research project BOND .
Professor Josep Samitier of the University of Barcelona explained what they are hoping to detect: “When we smell flowers or perfume, or when we eat, we receive important information in the form of chemicals. This chemical information exists and develops also when an illness occurs, for example in the case of cancer or other diseases.”
The highly sensitive nano-nose examines the urine of cancer patients and the results are promising.
According to researchers, in a few years, it might be possible to provide doctors with a small device which reliably shows whether the patient’s urine is contaminated with cancer cells or not.
The artificial smelling system relies on several hundred nanometric biosensors, which can detect even the tiniest number of cancer cells.
This non-invasive detection method could be a milestone in the fight against prostate cancer.
Researchers are still in the trial phase but the potential for saving lives is enormous.