Italian scientists have developed an electronic nose which is capable of sniffing out distinctive odor of lung cancer patients. The equipment was tested on 60 patients and proved to be accurate. The electronic nose is a 12 cm cube with sensors mirroring the human olfactory system. The patient is asked to exhale into a sterilized bag which is connected to a tube. The breath is then pumped inside the cube and hence into the sensors. The sensors identify the various substances by sniffing the breath and then by sending the real time data to a computer. The computer then identifies specific odor by a personal ID.
Having conducted the tests on patients with advanced lung tumors as well as on perfectly healthy people, scientists concluded the sensitivity of the instrument to presence of tumor. However its reliability has to be determined. If the instrument works it could be used in preventive diagnoses.