A group of scientists in Georgia revealed a breathalyzer that can essentially “smell cancer” by recognizing compounds present in the saliva of people with the disease.
The breathalyzer system was developed by scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology and was unveiled June 2 at the annual American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago.
The device is still awaiting clinical trials but is able to detect lung cancer and breast cancer about 80 percent of the time.
It could provide an alternative solution to current screening processes, which use bulky scanners, and are both expensive and invasive. Researchers are also suggesting the device could cost as little as $100, as opposed to the current $800 test for breast cancer.
It would also allow doctors to get results sooner than previous cancer screenings method, helping close the time gap when patients face when waiting for results.
The test works by the patient blowing into a tube and the breath being captured and stored in a special container. The breath can be stored up to six weeks if the proper refrigeration is provided.
The breathalyzer test could also open up limitless opportunities for cancer awareness and treatment in third world countries where many people are too poor to afford the standard CAT scans. The breathalyzer is also much more portable, allowing it to be easily transported to remote regions that need healthcare.