Cancer screening device: detecting cancer from breath

Cancer screening device: detecting cancer from breath
© iStock/RapidEye

Detecting cancer from breath doesn’t sound possible right? Well, SniffPhone is the new cancer screening device that enables early diagnosis of gastric cancer by simply exhaling into your phone.

Currently in its prototype phase, SniffPhone enables early diagnosis of gastric cancer from detecting cancer from breath. This new cancer screening device has the ability to revolutionise cancer screening all over the world.

SnifPhone, the cancer screening device

SniffPhone is a small sensor developed as a cancer screening device that can be attached to a smartphone.

In practice, the user holds the device in front of his or her mouth and exhales onto the sensor to give a breath sample. This test for cancer measures the contained Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) using highly sensitive nanotechnology-based chemical sensors.

The measurements are then sent via Bluetooth using a smartphone to a dedicated cloud platform, where they are analysed by the appropriate medical personnel.

The SniffPhone project is financed under the EU’s Horizon 2020 Programme for research, technological development and demonstration. The SniffPhone was developed by a consortium of nine partners from six countries. The nanosensors of the SniffPhone were developed in Israel, the micropump by Cellix in Ireland, fluidics by Microfluidic ChipShop in Germany, and the cloud platform by VTT in Finland.

The benefits of detecting cancer from breath

The new cancer screening device has many advantages over traditional methods: the device is comfortable and painless to use. In addition, it provides a simple, fast and cost-effective alternative for screening gastric cancers.

In the project, SniffPhone prototypes have been developed and validated by means of, for example, clinical studies. The next step in the project is finding financiers for this kind of novel cancer screening method. Commercialisation of the device is planned to take place through a spin-off company.

VTT’s role in the project was the implementation of the platform for transferring data from the smartphone to a cloud-based storage space. VTT has also been building analysis tools and methods for recognising high-risk patients.

Moreover, VTT created a mobile application that guides the user in giving a breath sample and provides the user with a preliminary analysis of the sample. Furthermore, a physician’s analysis tool has been developed to display the analysis results of breath samples.


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