Cancer Cell

Skin Cancer will be easier to detect now; as researchers have found a way to sniff it out, really! According to the researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, have taken inspiration from the nose of the dogs who can sniff cancer in people and plan to develop an ‘electrical nose’.

The researchers note that people with skin cancer have an ‘odour profile’ – peculiar smell over their tumours. “We found that the odour profile coming from the skin of skin cancer patients was markedly different than that coming from healthy skin,” noted study author Michelle Gallagher, who conducted her research while a postdoctoral fellow at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia.

This odour profile can be put to best use for detecting the cancer and this is also the most noninvasive way of doing so note researchers.

Researchers studied the air above the tumour sites of 25 men and women belonging to the age group of 19-80. The odour profile of their back and forearm was evaluated in both 11 healthy and disease-free volunteers and 11 volunteers with basal carcinoma patients.

It was found that the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in healthy and cancerous patients were different.

Researchers note that this method can be utilized as a better diagnostic tool with the help of nano-sensor technology (electrical nose) and in a few years this may soon be incorporated in a routine process as the chances of errors in this method are also very few.