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Cancer: the Scent


If people with untreated diabetes can have fruity-smelling breath, then what might the breath of a cancer patient smell like? Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic are developing a way to detect the various biomarkers of cancer in human breath using changing colors on a reactive chemical indicator array, reports The Globe and Mail's Rick Pilger. In the clinic's latest study, the color array was 80 percent to 85 percent accurate in determining whether a subject had lung cancer.

In Canada, a company called Picomole Instruments is developing technology capable of analyzing human breath to detect disease, Pilger adds. Picomole is partnering with the Atlantic Cancer Research Institute to test its technology in clinical trials of lung cancer patients. "The breath analysis technology developed by [the Picomole] team is based on infrared spectroscopy, an analytical technique that takes advantage of the fact that molecules absorb infrared light at specific wavelengths characteristic of their structure," Pilger says. "Picomole's technology, called LISA (Laser Infrared Sample Analysis), is capable of providing an extremely comprehensive analysis of a breath sample."

The Scan

Study Points to Tuberculosis Protection by Gaucher Disease Mutation

A mutation linked to Gaucher disease in the Ashkenazi Jewish population appears to boost Mycobacterium tuberculosis resistance in a zebrafish model of the lysosomal storage condition, a new PNAS study finds.

SpliceVault Portal Provides Look at RNA Splicing Changes Linked to Genetic Variants

The portal, described in Nature Genetics, houses variant-related messenger RNA splicing insights drawn from RNA sequencing data in nearly 335,700 samples — a set known as the 300K-RNA resource.

Automated Sequencing Pipeline Appears to Allow Rapid SARS-CoV-2 Lineage Detection in Nevada Study

Researchers in the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics describe and assess a Clear Labs Dx automated workflow, sequencing, and bioinformatic analysis method for quickly identifying SARS-CoV-2 lineages.

UK Team Presents Genetic, Epigenetic Sequencing Method

Using enzymatic DNA preparation steps, researchers in Nature Biotechnology develop a strategy for sequencing DNA, along with 5-methylcytosine and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine, on existing sequencers.