‘Worm On A Chip’ Could Save You From Lung Cancer
A Worm On A Chip might save You from lung cancer by sniffing it out…
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Researchers in Korea say the worms are drawn to the “floral” smell of cancer cells — which likely resembles their favorite food.
According to the National Cancer Institute, over 600,000 people in the United States died of cancer in 2020.
However, when doctors diagnose the disease early – in stage one – before it spreads to other parts of the body, patients have a much higher chance of survival.
Currently, lung cancer is diagnosed by imaging tests or biopsies, but these tests cannot detect tumors at their earliest stage.
While scientists can train dogs to sniff out cancer in human breath, blood, and urine samples, keeping them in a medical lab is not practical.
The team from Myongji University in Korea enlisted the help of the much smaller creature, a worm called C. elegans, which can also detect the disease.
During their experiment, researchers placed a silicone chip, with wells on both ends, connected to a central chamber by channels in a petri dish.
They then added a solution containing lung cancer cells at one end of the chip and normal cells at the other.
Researchers said worms in the chamber were more likely to move towards the lung cancer cells.
The device had a success rate of around 70 percent in terms of detecting cancerous cells.
Further tests with the chip revealed what specific odor molecules attracted the worms to the cancer cells.
The team discovered that the worms were attracted to a volatile compound known as 2-ethyl-1-hexanol, which gives off a floral scent.
The researchers are now hoping to increase the device’s accuracy by using worms which have already been exposed to cancer cells and therefore know what they smell like.
Researchers are presenting their findings at the spring meeting of the American Chemical Society.