Sniffing Out Cancer

Researchers are working on an ‘electronic nose’ that could detect cancer by smell. The abnormal chemical processes inside cancer cells can lead to different substances being released from these cells than from healthy tissues, including different odor molecules. An electronic nose is a machine that uses numerous chemical sensors to detect odor molecules with higher sensitivity and accuracy than a human nose, or even a dog’s nose. Now scientists are examining blood samples from cancer patients and healthy individuals to determine the patterns that distinguish the two and to program an electronic nose to recognize the difference. The hope is that a future ‘smell test’ may be able to reliably identify cancer in its early stages, without the need for invasive procedures.


Sniffing Out Cancer

Researchers are working on an ‘electronic nose’ that could detect cancer by smell. The abnormal chemical processes inside cancer cells can lead to different substances being released from these cells than from healthy tissues, including different odor molecules. An electronic nose is a machine that uses numerous chemical sensors to detect odor molecules with higher sensitivity and accuracy than a human nose, or even a dog’s nose. Now scientists are examining blood samples from cancer patients and healthy individuals to determine the patterns that distinguish the two and to program an electronic nose to recognize the difference. The hope is that a future ‘smell test’ may be able to reliably identify cancer in its early stages, without the need for invasive procedures.


Computer Program Helps Doctors Determine When It’s Time to Test Patients for Cancer

A new computer program may soon help doctors decide whether patients should get tested for cancer based on their symptoms. The software is not meant to replace the physician’s judgment, but rather supplement it, developers say. Many general practitioners do not have specific cancer expertise, or the time to calculate each patient’s cancer risk in detail–a task made instantaneous by the computer program. The software also analyzes each symptom in the context of all other relevant information in a patient’s record–age, sex, smoking status, family history–along with any other symptoms reported during earlier visits. Ensuring timely testing for patients at risk of cancer is a critical step towards early treatment with a higher chance of success.


Computer Program Helps Doctors Determine When It’s Time to Test Patients for Cancer

A new computer program may soon help doctors decide whether patients should get tested for cancer based on their symptoms. The software is not meant to replace the physician’s judgment, but rather supplement it, developers say. Many general practitioners do not have specific cancer expertise, or the time to calculate each patient’s cancer risk in detail–a task made instantaneous by the computer program. The software also analyzes each symptom in the context of all other relevant information in a patient’s record–age, sex, smoking status, family history–along with any other symptoms reported during earlier visits. Ensuring timely testing for patients at risk of cancer is a critical step towards early treatment with a higher chance of success.


Computer Program Helps Doctors Determine When It’s Time to Test Patients for Cancer

A new computer program may soon help doctors decide whether patients should get tested for cancer based on their symptoms. The software is not meant to replace the physician’s judgment, but rather supplement it, developers say. Many general practitioners do not have specific cancer expertise, or the time to calculate each patient’s cancer risk in detail–a task made instantaneous by the computer program. The software also analyzes each symptom in the context of all other relevant information in a patient’s record–age, sex, smoking status, family history–along with any other symptoms reported during earlier visits. Ensuring timely testing for patients at risk of cancer is a critical step towards early treatment with a higher chance of success.


Internet Use Linked to Cancer-Preventive Behaviors in Older Adults

A UK survey found that older individuals who use the Internet are more likely to engage in cancer-preventive behaviors. Adults aged 50 years and older who were regular Internet users were 50% more likely to get screened for colorectal cancer than non-users. They were also more physically active, smoked less, and ate more fruits and vegetables. Younger, wealthier, and more educated respondents were more likely to use the Internet, and fewer women and non-white survey participants used the Internet. However, the link between Internet use and cancer-preventive behaviors remained even after controlling for these factors. Given the apparent beneficial influence of Internet use on cancer outcomes, the survey’s authors urge policymakers to promote better Internet access for currently underserved demographics.


Internet Use Linked to Cancer-Preventive Behaviors in Older Adults

A UK survey found that older individuals who use the Internet are more likely to engage in cancer-preventive behaviors. Adults aged 50 years and older who were regular Internet users were 50% more likely to get screened for colorectal cancer than non-users. They were also more physically active, smoked less, and ate more fruits and vegetables. Younger, wealthier, and more educated respondents were more likely to use the Internet, and fewer women and non-white survey participants used the Internet. However, the link between Internet use and cancer-preventive behaviors remained even after controlling for these factors. Given the apparent beneficial influence of Internet use on cancer outcomes, the survey’s authors urge policymakers to promote better Internet access for currently underserved demographics.


New Biomarker May Allow Development of Less Invasive Test for Lung Cancer, New Lung Cancer Treatments

MicroRNAs are small molecules that turn down or switch off other genes and influence a wide range of processes in cells throughout the body. Researchers discovered that the microRNA 4423 (miR-4423) is found in higher levels in cells lining the airways of the lungs than in other parts of the body. But, levels of miR-4423 are lower in lung tumors and in otherwise normal-appearing airway cells of people with lung cancer. Because miR-4423 is found on the surface of the airways, measuring miR-4423 levels may serve as a relatively noninvasive test for lung cancer. Adding miR-4423 back inhibited the growth of lung cancer cells in cell cultures and decreased the size of lung cancer tumors implanted into mice. Increasing miR-4423 levels may therefore also form the basis of future lung cancer treatments.


Internet Use Linked to Cancer-Preventive Behaviors in Older Adults

A UK survey found that older individuals who use the Internet are more likely to engage in cancer-preventive behaviors. Adults aged 50 years and older who were regular Internet users were 50% more likely to get screened for colorectal cancer than non-users. They were also more physically active, smoked less, and ate more fruits and vegetables. Younger, wealthier, and more educated respondents were more likely to use the Internet, and fewer women and non-white survey participants used the Internet. However, the link between Internet use and cancer-preventive behaviors remained even after controlling for these factors. Given the apparent beneficial influence of Internet use on cancer outcomes, the survey’s authors urge policymakers to promote better Internet access for currently underserved demographics.