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Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have used AI and nano sensors to create an electronic nose. The nose can detect cancer cells, within 20 minutes, by just smelling a blood test. In tests the nose has succeeded in detecting pancreatic and ovarian cancer with 95 percent accuracy.
The electronic nose AI has been trained to recognize the patterns in volatile organic compounds, VOC, that is associated with cancer. The way the electronic nose smell the VOCs is similar to how the human brain interprets smells. It is the specific mixture of compounds that the brain uses to determine what it's smelling.
The nose can also determine if tumors are malignant or benign. The test is easy to perform and therefore, the researchers hope that it will be included in routine checks in the future.
“It’s an early study but the results are very promising. The data shows we can identify these tumors at both advanced and the earliest stages, which is exciting. If developed appropriately for the clinical setting, this could potentially be a test that’s done on a standard blood draw that may be part of your annual physical.”says A. T. Charlie Johnson, one of the researchers behind the electronic nose, in a press release.
The researchers have collaborated with the company VOC Health in developing the method, which specializes in detecting cancer with the help of VOC.