Scientists hope for lung cancer breath tests
Doctors may introduce a breath test designed to detect early signs of lung cancer which could help lower the disease's death rate.
It comes after scientists discovered subtle genetic changes in vapour given off by cells which may help shape the way lung cancer is detected.
Researchers from the University of Liverpool and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology examined cells taken from the lining of the airways that had been engineered to carry different genetic faults linked to early stage lung cancer.
Vapour They developed a technique for analysing the vapour inside the container in which the cells were growing and showed it was capable of distinguishing which of the two different genes were faulty in the cells. The disease has a low survival rate because diagnosis is often at the terminal stage.
Dr Mike Davies of the University of Liverpool Roy Castle Lung Cancer Research Programme said: "These findings tell us that it's theoretically possible to develop a test that could diagnose early lung cancer in the breath of patients.
"This is a potential step towards developing a handheld device that could aid lung cancer screening and diagnosis."