Can a locust smell cancer? MSU researchers work to find out
In the late stages of cancer, the smell is even able to be detected by humans.
EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Researchers at Michigan State University have found that not only can locusts “smell” the difference between cancer cells and healthy cells, but they can distinguish between various cancer cell lines.
An assistant professor of biomedical engineering and his team are working to essentially ‘hack’ the insect brain to use it for disease diagnosis.
Cancer cells emit a specific odor. In the late stages of cancer, the smell is even able to be detected by humans.
Don’t worry – you shouldn’t expect to see locusts flying around a doctor’s office. Instead, the team will use the brain of the locusts to create a device that would detect gases emitted by tissue with cancer. Researchers say that this work could provide the basis for devices that use insect sensory neurons to enable early detection of cancer by using only a patient’s breath.
Currently, some dogs are trained to detect cancer in humans.
Next: How a screening can help detect lung cancer
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