Researchers at the Chongqing University in China announce that they have
been working on a sensor able to detect volatile organic compounds in a
person's breath that point to the existence of lung cancer. According to the
team, the device has so far shown promise in laboratory tests, detecting
related compounds with a nearly 100% accuracy.
The device works thanks to a fluorescent cross-responsive sensor
array over which a special rotary gas chamber spreads the gas evenly. Dots on
the outside of the sensor ring change color depending on the substance they
come in contact with.
By detecting how the fluorescence of the array varies due to the
introduction of a gas, the device is able to spot the existence of specific
biomarkers. In their research, the scientists were able to spot cancer-related
volatile organic compounds p-xylene, styrene, isoprene, and hexanal at
concentrations of up to 50 parts per billion.
Scientists said that the next step is to put the
sensor through clinical trials to verify that it works with an actual patient's