Disease Detection

An intelligent little sniffer

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Science  20 Jan 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6322, pp. 258-259
DOI: 10.1126/science.355.6322.258-c

From ancient medical tests to roadside sobriety tests to cancer-sniffing dogs, the analysis of compounds in a puff of breath has long been used for clinical diagnoses. When equipped with a targeted sensor, devices using nanosized materials can detect specific volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and thus be targeted to a single disease condition. Nakhleh et al. follow a different approach, in which sensors based on modified gold nanoparticles and carbon nanotubes are used to identify 17 different disease conditions. Rather than searching for a single VOC, their sensors could identify a range of VOCs, albeit with less sensitivity, and were able to identify patterns of detection that correlated with each of the different diseases.

ACS Nano 10.1021/acsnano.6b04930 (2016).

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