The same electronic "nose" designed to monitor air quality on the International Space Station is apparently also a deft nostril at sniffing out cancer. Neurosurgeons at the City of Hope Cancer Center along with boffins from the Brain Mapping Foundation and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory say the US space agency's ENose can be …
We're getting close!
Soon we'll be able to predict the onset of PMS so we can all run for the hills....
Dogs can do this, better and cheaper
Households dogs have been trained to smell prostate, lung and breast cancer from samples placed in front of them, and other tests have proven dogs can smell a chemical signature down to as low as parts per trillion...
So why do we need an e-nose, when a dog can be trained to do a better job, for far cheaper?
What, you mean as in: "It's okay, but it smells a bit"?
Now that's one thing from the fictional world that I *never* expected to see turn up for real.
Dogs in every doctor's office?
It wouldn't be particularly cheap, or easy, to train enough dogs. And not every doctor or diagnostic lab would have people who can work with a dog. Dogs get tired and stop being interested after a while.
Not to mention the contamination. They are still dogs! Do you want them in your clinic or hospital?
Symptoms of brain cancer are normally things that are almost always likely caused by something else. Things like headaches. MRI machines are huge and very busy, and everyone who gets headaches isn't going to be sent for an MRI scan, it would be irresponsible, given how unlikely the cause is something life threatening. I don't know how affordable this e-nose is, but if it could work on many types of cancer, it would be very very useful in a doctor's office for annual checkups.