Penn Medicine has developed a device that can detect pancreatic cancer and ovarian cancer by smell


Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania said that the smell test can distinguish between benign and cancerous pancreatic cells and ovarian cells with an accuracy rate of 95%.

The test was developed by Penn Medicine to analyze vapors from blood samples. Artificial intelligence and machine learning allow so-called “electronic noses” to use nanosensors to identify volatile organic compounds or VOCs emitted from cells in plasma samples. Volatile Organic Compound It is a compound with high vapor pressure and low water solubility.

“This is an early study, but the results are very promising,” Say AT Charlie Johnson, Professor of Physics and Astronomy. “The data shows that we can identify these tumors at the advanced and earliest stages, which is exciting. If properly developed for the clinical environment, this may be a test on a standard blood draw, which may be part of your annual physical examination.”

Previous studies by these researchers have shown that the VOC released in the tissues and plasma of patients with ovarian cancer is different from the VOC released in samples from patients with benign tumors.

Penn’s study included 20 ovarian cancer patients, 20 benign ovarian tumor patients, and 20 non-cancer patients. It also included 13 patients with pancreatic cancer, 10 patients with benign pancreatic tumors, and 10 control patients.

In the detection of ovarian cancer, the accuracy of the electronic nose is 95%. For pancreatic cancer, its accuracy rate is 90%. The tool can also detect early-stage cancer.

Cancer that is difficult to detect

Pancreas and Ovaries Cancers are difficult to detect, and regular screening for asymptomatic adults is not recommended.

Most cases are not detected until late. They are usually confirmed by a combination of imaging and blood tests and tumor biopsy.

Pancreatic cancer Affects the organs responsible for the production of hormones, such as insulin and enzymes that help the body digest food. There is currently no recommended routine screening for asymptomatic adults.This Fox Chase Cancer Center It is said that most cancers are found after abnormal blood or imaging studies.

Since this type of cancer has no specific symptoms, detecting pancreatic cancer is complicated. Symptoms such as chronic stomach pain, sudden weight loss, nausea and jaundice are related to several different diseases.

according to American Cancer Society, Approximately 60,430 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2021. Approximately 48,220 people will die of pancreatic cancer this year.

This Pancreatic Cancer Action Network According to reports, the five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer is 10%. Compared with the survival rate of other types of cancer, this is really low. Most people are not diagnosed until the fourth stage, when the cancer has spread.

The American Cancer Society also estimates that more than 22,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year. This is one of the main causes of cancer deaths.

When ovarian cancer is detected Early, Almost 94% of women will live longer than 5 years after diagnosis. However, only about 20% of such cancers are detected early.

Current filter For ovarian cancer, including pelvic examination during regular female health checkups, but early ovarian tumors are not easy to feel. The Pap test or human papillomavirus test is designed to detect cervical cancer and is sometimes used to screen for ovarian cancer, but they rarely detect ovarian cancer. When they do, they are usually at an advanced stage.

Like prostate cancer, ovarian cancer has no specific symptoms. The most common symptoms, such as bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, difficulty eating and urination, may again be caused by several different conditions.

Detection of volatile organic compounds

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania trained their electronic nose to recognize VOC mode It is usually associated with cancer cells in a healthy blood sample within 20 minutes.

The University of Pennsylvania is collaborating with VOC Health to commercialize the device for research and clinical applications. The collaboration with Richard Postrel, CEO and Chief Innovation Officer of VOC Health, has increased the speed of equipment inspections.

“The initial prototype of a commercial device that can detect cancer from liquid and vapor will soon be ready and will be provided to these researchers at the University of Pennsylvania to further their work,” Postrel said.

Penn Medicine’s research results will be announced at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology on Friday.

Johnson, Director of the Working Dog Center, Cynthia Otto, Professor of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, and Benjamin Abella, Professor of Emergency Medicine, are the co-founders and equity holders of VOC Health.



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