A device that can ‘smell’ bladder cancer in patient’s urine samples has been developed by UK scientists.
It works by using a sensor to detect gaseous chemicals that are emitted if cancer cells are present.
Although experts say more studies are needed to perfect the test, early trials show the test gives accurate results more than nine times out of ten.
Bladder cancer, which affects approximately 10,000 people in the UK every year, is easier to treat when caught early, so doctors have been keen to find a new way to detect the cancer earlier.
Scientists at Liverpool University and University of the West of England tested the device on 98 samples of urine – 24 from men diagnosed with bladder cancer and 74 from men with bladder-related problems, but no cancer.
Professor Chris Probert, from Liverpool University, told the BBC that they now need to test the device further on larger samples of patients before it can be used in hospitals.
Dr Sarah Hazell, senior science communications officer at Cancer Research UK, told the publication, "It would be great to be able to detect the ‘smell’ of cancer in a robust and practical way but, promising though this work is, we’re not there yet.
"The researchers say that the test would be around 96% accurate in practice and their findings are only based on a relatively small number of samples, taken only from men. But it is another promising step towards detecting bladder cancer from urine samples, something that would ultimately provide a less invasive means of diagnosing the disease."
Image: Histopathology of urothelial carcinoma of the urinary bladder. Photo: Wikipedia.