BEACON TRANSCRIPT – As the doctors working on the case would put it, there is no proven method of accurately detecting the signs associated with prostate cancer. Currently, all the tests used to diagnose this disease are invasive and quite inaccurate. But a sniff test for prostate cancer will soon be available, with a prove 98 percent efficiency of detecting early cancerous formations.
This novel cancer sniffing test was developed by a group of researchers from the United Kingdom. By using a device called Odometer, the doctors will now be able to tell if a patient exhibits a high risk of developing prostate cancer or not by sampling the patient’s urine.
The Odometer employs a special detection technique called gas chromatography, which basically works like a highly sensitive nose. In fact, according to Professor Norman Ratcliff, the study’s lead researchers, the whole project is based on an older project involving the use of dogs in detecting cancerous outgrowths.
The Odometer works basically the same way as the dog’s nose, sniffing out the early signs of cancer. According to the research team, the Odometer is capable of identifying certain volatile compounds which are linked to different stages of cancer. Basically, all the urine sample are fed to a machine that uses special algorithms developed professors Ratcliff and Probert from the UWE University.
Professor Ratcliffe declared that the position of the prostate gland is very important in diagnosing prostate cancer. He explained that depending on its position, the gland will return a different profile or signature if the patient has cancer.
In order to test out this cancer sniffing devices, the team from UWE Bristol set up a clinical trial, involving 155 men. The project itself represents a fruitful collaboration between the UWE Bristol, Southmead Hospital and Bristol Royal Infirmary.
The clinical test, which is also the pilot test for the device proved that the Odometer is capable of sniffing out prostate cancer with an uncanny accuracy. Professor Probert declared that he is confident that a sniff test for prostate cancer will become available.
According to the results of the pilot trial, the device managed to sniff out 58 instances of prostate cancer, 24 cases of bladder cancer and 74 instances of haematuria, or 95 percent accuracy in case of prostate cancer and 96 percent accuracy for bladder cancer.
If all goes well, the team will solicit the help of private companies in order to make the device available on the market. The current procedure used to detect prostate cancer is using indicators such as prostatomegaly or high PSA levels. These symptoms usually prompt the doctors into performing biopsies. Unfortunately, it would seem that there are many instances in which biopsies do not detect cancer.