A team of Israeli scientists has further developed its breathalyzer technology, and a recent clinical study demonstrated an 86 percent success rate identifying 17 different diseases.
Diseases could potentially be noticed by such a machine before their full-blown symptoms have spread throughout the body. That science-fiction idea moves a whole lot closer to reality with the recent development of a disease-detecting breathalyzer, described in a study published on December 21 in the journal ACS Nano.
By analyzing a breath sample, the device can identify 17 different diseases, including two types of Parkinson's disease, Crohn's, multiple sclerosis, kidney disease, and cancers including lung cancer, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, and ovarian cancer.
"One of the major challenges in the modern era of disease diagnosis is how we can detect the disease when we are still feeling healthy," Hossam Haick of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, who led the 56-researcher team that developed the breathalyzer, says. Haick also says the device, which they call the "Na-Nose," is capable of catching a disease in the early stages and may even be able to predict people that are at high risk for certain conditions.
The 86% accuracy rate reported in the study, which tested 1404 sick and healthy patients in 9 locations around the world, is not yet good enough to be used clinically as a diagnostic tool. But this shows very clearly one potential future for early and easy disease diagnosis.