Breathalyzer gets an upgrade, detects lung cancer, too

Scientists in Israel are working on a breathalyzer they believe is able to detect lung cancer as easily as your garden variety intoxication detector (pictured above). Similar tests are in the works but require a pretreatment of the breath, which adds time, cost and complexity to a procedure. The Israeli breathalyzer's bypassing of such pretreatments is being attributed to advancements in nanotechnology.

In a study conducted by the team, 56 healthy volunteers and 40 people who were known to have lung cancer were tested by the breathalyzer without any pretreatment, using a sensor made up of nine gold nanoparticle chemiresistors. The results were promising: 33 distinct biomarkers set the people with lung cancer apart from those who had healthy lungs.

The only question now is how early on the breathalyzer can detect traces of cancer. The subjects tested were all advanced, and cancer treatment success relies heavily on early warnings.

Via Ars Technica