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NASA's eNose Sniffs Out Brain Cancer

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the just-follow-your-nose dept.

NASA 53

ScienceDaily is reporting that an electronic nose developed by NASA for monitoring potential leaks on the ISS may be able to sniff out brain cancer. "The electronic nose, which is to be installed on the International Space Station in order to automatically monitor the station's air, can detect contaminants within a range of one to approximately 10,000 parts per million. In a series of experiments, the Brain Mapping Foundation used NASA's electronic nose to sniff brain cancer cells and cells in other organs. Their data demonstrates that the electronic nose can sense differences in odor from normal versus cancerous cells. These experiments will help pave the way for more sophisticated biochemical analysis and experimentation."

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53 comments

what movies was that? (3, Funny)

Twillerror (536681) | more than 4 years ago | (#27793243)

What movie was it that a guy pissed into a smart toilet every morning which could detect changes in diet and shit...we are one piss closer.

Re:what movies was that? (1)

Gendo420 (656068) | more than 4 years ago | (#27793335)

I think that was in THX1138 and/or The Island wasn't it?

Re:what movies was that? (1)

ericspinder (146776) | more than 4 years ago | (#27794053)

THX1138 and/or The Island wasn't it?

I'm not sure of either of those, but since you didn't mention the Simpsons, you'll need to turn in your /. user id.

Re:what movies was that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27795047)

Gattaca

Richie Rich Quote (1)

drizek (1481461) | more than 4 years ago | (#27795125)

Richard Rich Sr.: [on Prof. Keenbean's Smellmaster 9000] Glasses, electronic aids and surgery help us see and hear better. Isn't it time we had something to help us SMELL better?

Regina Rich: We already do, dear. It's called Chanel.

Re:what movies was that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27795489)

Gattaca? no .. The Island?

Re:what movies was that? (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 4 years ago | (#27795739)

The film in question was The Island [imdb.com] where Ewan McGregor [imdb.com], as the clone Lincoln Six Echo, has been secretly drinking alcohol given to him by the sympathetic company man James McCord played by Steve Buscemi [imdb.com]. The toilet was detecting the deleterious metabolites of alcohol breakdown being passed the morning after the drinking binge by Lincoln.

Re:what movies was that? (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 4 years ago | (#27797159)

"What movie was it that a guy pissed into a smart toilet..."

Ah, you mean cancer of the small brain.

Rent "Sleeper" (1)

wsanders (114993) | more than 4 years ago | (#27793249)

For some reason, the nose-cloning scenes from "Sleeper" sprung immediately to mind when I read "NASA's Electronic Nose".

NASA's eNose can sniff everything (5, Funny)

impaledsunset (1337701) | more than 4 years ago | (#27793289)

I heard that NASA's eNose is so sensitive it could tell a homeopathic preparation from pure water.

Re:NASA's eNose can sniff everything (3, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#27793403)

Homeopathic medicine humor, eh? I would have said something like it can tell american beer from water, but I guess that's a little low brow compared to yours.

Re:NASA's eNose can sniff everything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27795419)

Big deal! Wake me up when they can tell American beer from piss. ;)

Can it sniff out explosives? (4, Insightful)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | more than 4 years ago | (#27793317)

Could it sniff out explosives, so we could detect roadside bombs, and not have to squirt toothpaste into baggies at airports?

Re:Can it sniff out explosives? (2, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#27794069)

What does the security theater at airports have to do with bombs?

No. Seriously!

Dogs already doing that years ago (5, Informative)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 4 years ago | (#27793343)

Sure, it's great they've figured out how to do this artificially, but we've known for *years* that cancer smells differently, and we've even had dogs trained to do it:

http://www.google.com/search?q=dogs+sniff+cancer [google.com]

Cheers,

Re:Dogs as trained sniffers (1)

jlmale0 (1087135) | more than 4 years ago | (#27793407)

Robot noses don't pee on your bags.

They leak oil instead.

Re:Dogs as trained sniffers (1)

stonedcat (80201) | more than 4 years ago | (#27793493)

This is only a minor setback and is currently being implemented by Microsoft as a non-disableable "feature".

Re:Dogs as trained sniffers (1)

drizek (1481461) | more than 4 years ago | (#27795161)

Where do people get the idea that robots need oil?

Robots will be powered by electric motors, meaning they won't need lubricants, at least not in the same way that cars do. Depending on what you build them out of, they might need some form of lubrication in the joints, but thats just a few sprays of WD40 on the assembly line.

They won't be guzzling quarts of Mobil 1 like they do in cartoons.

Re:Dogs already doing that years ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27793417)

Dogs rule.

Vitamin B17 kills Cancer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27796555)

Cancer is caused by the lack of vitamin B17 in modern person's diet. It is very well documented in the book "World Without Cancer - The Story of Vitamin B17" by Edward Griffin.
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4312930190281243507 [google.com]
Fruit's seeds contain lots of vitamin B17.

Re:Dogs already doing that years ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27796875)

Yes but dogs only give binary read out (tail wagging/not wagging).

A sensitive enough mass-spec on the other hand gives loads of information, the possibility of identifying which molecules are causing the cancerous disturbance and therefore perhaps even hints on how to treat it :)

I for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27793377)

I for one welcome our new brain sniffing overlords...

I'm going for the borscht! (4, Funny)

rts008 (812749) | more than 4 years ago | (#27793565)

Now we can finally put an end to all of the squabbling going on in the ISS.

With the NASA Nose, we will finally be able to prove once and for all whose farts smell the worse, and by how much!

I'm sorry Dave... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27793567)

...but maybe traveling 18 months to Jupiter wasn't a good idea.

10k/1000k (2, Informative)

XaXXon (202882) | more than 4 years ago | (#27793579)

ten thousand parts per million is a lot easier to understand as 1 part per hundred. And a lot less impressive.

Re:10k/1000k (2, Informative)

pinkocommie (696223) | more than 4 years ago | (#27793655)

That's its lowest sensitivity setting. It can detect from 1 ppm upto 10k ppm. If you wanted to convert it to per hundred it'd be something like 0.000001 to 1 parts per hundred. Not exactly standard notation

Re:10k/1000k (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#27794129)

You don't get it, do you?

10k ppm = 1 in 100
1 ppm = 1 in 1,000,000

None of your 0.000001 parts per hundred nonsense.

The "one in" notation is much much clearer.

Re:10k/1000k (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 4 years ago | (#27795355)

Parts per million (ppm) is a standard, commonly used unit when talking about things like chemical concentration. To people that work with this stuff on a daily basis, ppm is probably easier to understand than "1 part per hundred".

Re:10k/1000k (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27798535)

Mod parent up. PPM is an actual real scientific measurement, let's be glad they used it instead of Library of Congresses (LOC).

Heard that before - about 5 million times (1)

uberjack (1311219) | more than 4 years ago | (#27793671)

If I had 5 cents every time I heard "[x] might be able to cure [y] cancer", I'd be a millionaire. If it was for every time I heard "[x] actually detects/cures [y] cancer," I'd be on the street begging for spare change.

Re:Heard that before - about 5 million times (1)

MasterOfDisaster (248401) | more than 4 years ago | (#27794099)

If I had a nickel for every time someone proposed a hypothetical cure for cancer, why, I'd have enough to start my own research facility for creating hypothetical cures for cancer!

Just think of the unlimited profit opportunities!

Re:Heard that before - about 5 million times (2, Funny)

cperciva (102828) | more than 4 years ago | (#27794955)

If I had a nickel for every time I heard someone say "if I had a nickel", I'd have a lot of nickels.

It's been done (1)

keiofh (1223410) | more than 4 years ago | (#27793751)

Dogs can already be used to detect cancer. Why rely on computers? http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/01/06/60minutes/main665263.shtml [cbsnews.com]

Re:It's been done (1)

kundziad (1198601) | more than 4 years ago | (#27794023)

Because we exactly understand the way in which they work (less the extreme cases of unproven yet used mathematical theorems) and easily modify them to meat our other needs. Relying on much autonomous beings such as dogs is riskier and harder in the long run.

Re:It's been done (1)

scatter_gather (649698) | more than 4 years ago | (#27794779)

You rely on computers because dogs cannot detect cancer with sufficient reliability to count on them, day after day, year after year, and their cancer detection accuracy is not all that high to begin with for deep cancers. I taught one to detect breast cancer and I can tell you it is not easy and the accuracy was poor for all of the dogs in the study. The amazing part is that it could be done at all.

Excellent ... release the mechanical hounds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27793773)

Soon we'll have everything in place to realize Bradbury's vision.

Sniffing what? (2, Interesting)

Corson (746347) | more than 4 years ago | (#27794819)

Nobody knows exactly what cancer is, let alone what molecules have "diagnostic value" in cancer. Not to mention that there thousands of different cancer types. So, what is this thing sniffing?

Smellable Cancer = Metastasized? (2, Interesting)

oneplus999 (907816) | more than 4 years ago | (#27795563)

I assume that if there is evidence of your cancer floating around, then the likely reason is that it has metastasized to your lungs, in which case you already have a really advanced stage of the cancer. In order to actually be a useful method for diagnosis, you need it to work much sooner than that.

Run a bioscan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27795765)

This thing will go great in my tricorder.

really now (2, Funny)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 4 years ago | (#27796165)

NASA's electronic nose to sniff brain cancer cells and cells in other organs

I don't want NASA's nose anywhere near my organ.

Would have been nice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27796775)

If they knew about this before my dad (former NASA Chief Engineer Theron M. Bradley, Jr.) died of a brain tumor in November 2007.
And yes, I really am his son, no he doesn't have his own wikipedia page, though he is listed on the wikipedia Columbia Accident Investigation Board page, NASA's website, and various other places around the web.
Posted anon for what should be fairly obvious reasons.
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