E-nose Detects Malignant Mesothelioma

Cyranose 320

The Cyranose 320 is an electronic nose that has a most unique ability – it smells.

No, really. That’s what it does.

The device provides a low-cost monitoring system that can sniff out explosives, chemicals, food contaminates and even some cancers.

“Cancer sniffing” technology has come a long way. The device works by detecting biomarkers in our breath. Australian scientists have used the electronic nose to accurately identify mesothelioma cancer.

The advantages of this device may change the future of mesothelioma diagnoses.

Mesothelioma diagnosis without a biopsy

The ability of having a non-invasive breath test to assist in the diagnosis of mesothelioma may leave surgical procedures like biopsies reserved for more extreme cases.

There are tough questions and always some risks when a biopsy is involved. The hope is that this new sniff test for cancer will assume the diagnostic role now accomplished by a biopsy.

The Cyranose 320 requires a one-time training session that leaves most of the work to its on-board computer. It will recognize a pattern of the organic compounds in your breath and will accurately distinguish which asbestos-related disease is present.

Avoiding a misdiagnosis and returning fast results are important factors in a test to those who are affected by mesothelioma.

Possible Screening Tool

Veterans, firefighters, laborers or anyone who knew they have been in contact with asbestos can monitor their health with an x-ray screening. However, the more x-ray screenings you undergo the more unnecessary radiation you expose to your body.

The future of this device may lead it to become a cost effective screening tool and will save others from potentially harmful radiation.

Unfortunately, most of us wait until there is something wrong for us to go to the doctors. However, early detection means longer life expectancy. An early diagnose of malignant mesothelioma can add quality time to your life.

This test is as easy as breathing into a tube.

The History of cancer detecting technology

By 1971, devices were able to detect up to 250 compounds in a person’s breath. Advancements in technology rapidly increased, and by 1999 they were able to detect some 3,000 compounds.

Now we can use laser spectroscopy, mass spectrometry and handheld device to detect if cancer is malignant or benign cancer. These devices can also distinguish if the problem is pleura plaques or other asbestos-related diseases.
NASA Building

Future of the technology

Created by the California Institute of Technology in junction with NASA, the original purpose for the Cyranose 320 was to help astronauts monitor recirculated air for potential contamination. Intelligent Optical Systems, Inc., currently has exclusivity for commercial uses of the device.

Hopefully, every hospital and clinic will have one soon.

Other devices that may help the advancement of cancer diagnosis technology: E-nose 1 model BH114 and the Osmetech Microbial Analyzer.

These advancements in mesothelioma research are provided by generous contributions towards medical colleges and mesothelioma grants. Great strides are being made for future generations that may face this dreadful disease.

Have you used a breath analyzing device? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter.


Ben Leer is an outreach coordinator with The Mesothelioma Center. He works toward increasing education and awareness of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. Part of Ben’s job is to reach out and engage with patients, caregivers and family members on our online communities.

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