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Researchers Create Tool that can Smell Prostate Cancer in Urine

Update Date: Feb 12, 2016 09:32 AM EST

A revolutionary new tool could potentially change the game for prostate cancer.

A research team from Britain has reportedly created a non-invasive diagnostic test called the Odoreader device that can "smell" prostate cancer in urine. The device uses a gas chromatography (GC) sensor to identify potentially cancerous compounds in urine.

"There is an urgent need to identify these cancers at an earlier stage when they are more treatable as the earlier a person is diagnosed the better," Dr. Chris Probert, a professor at the University of Liverpool's Institute of Translational Medicine, who was not a part of the study, said, reported by Healthline.

To test the effectiveness of the device, the researchers headed by Norman Ratcliffe from the University of the West of England recruited 115 men who sought out medical care at urology clinics.

The researchers reported that 58 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer, 24 had bladder cancer and 73 had haematuria (blood in urine). The Odoreader device was effective in detecting compounds in the urine that were tied to cancer.

The authors concluded in their paper:

"The results of the pilot study presented here indicate that the GC system is able to successfully identify patterns that allow classification of urine samples from patients with urological cancers. An accurate diagnosis based on urine samples would reduce the number of negative prostate biopsies performed, and the frequency of surveillance cystoscopy for bladder cancer patients. Larger cohort studies are planned to investigate the potential of this system. Future work may lead to non-invasive breath analyses for diagnosing urological conditions."

"If this test succeeds at full medical trial, it will revolutionize diagnostics," Raj Prasad, a consultant urologist at Southmead Hospital, commented. He was not involved with the study.

Prostate cancer killed more than 27,000 American men in 2015.

The study's findings were published in the Journal of Breath Research.

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