To most people, all breathalyzers are a cop tool for roadside drunk tests. However, a particular breathalyzer called “Na-Nose” has an entirely different function.
At Technion Institute of Technology in Israel, Professor Hossam Haick has developed “Na-Nose,” a nanotech nose for diagnosing numerous diseases including different types of cancer. Professor Haick has been working on this technology since 2007. The device was finally approved after international clinical trials where it differentiated among various classifications of cancer with up to 95 percent accuracy.
Na-Nose is a point of care (POC) testing device that can obtain clinical results by patient self-management, thus reducing the time for extensive screening tests. The instrument works by a technique called Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) detection where the breath is analyzed by binding it to specific nanomaterials. More than 1,000 types of gas exist in the breath. This mixture of gas is analyzed by Na-Nose to identify any that is indicative of some disease. The device is designed to imitate the olfactory system of dogs that are known to detect early stages of cancer in humans.
The device identifies the VOC’s using molecularly modified gold nanoparticles and a network of single-wall carbon nanotubes as the sensor. The gold particles provide electrical conductivity where the carbon nanotubes increase or decrease their interparticle distance depending on the VOC’s. The VOC’s, also called the markers are emitted into the blood stream due to the disease and are expelled from the body through waste or exhalation.
Early diagnosis can increase the survival rate by ten folds. Further miniaturization of the tool or better, fitting the device into a smartphone may become the future of more timely medical diagnosis.
We would like to know your thoughts on this device. Comment below!