Polish scientists have a brilliant idea. They created a "breathalyzer" to detect cancer

Ok, technically this device does not have much in common with a breathalyzer, but thanks to this comparison, no one will have any problems understanding how it works. We blow and ... already.

However, breathalyzers work on the basis of electrochemical sensors. Meanwhile, the device developed at the Institute of Experimental Physics of the Faculty of Physics of the University of Warsaw by the team of dr hab. Tadeusz Stacewicz is based on laser spectrometry. That is: we blow calmly into the mouthpiece, and lasers with a specific wavelength, tailored to the spectra of chemical compounds, the excess of which can mean the occurrence of disease, they do their own.

Laser cancer detection

What do you mean with the spectra of chemical compounds you ask? Researchers have determined that the presence (or simply excess) of certain chemicals in the air we breathe can be associated with specific diseases. In the case of the Polish invention, which does not have an official name yet, the focus has been on the detection of formaldehyde, the presence of which may mean that cancer is developing in the lungs of the examined person. The idea of ​​searching for this chemical compound is not new, anyway. It's just been refined.

- So far, the detection of formaldehyde was possible by means of gas chromatography. However, this is not the optimal way to detect this volatile organic compound. The results are not always unambiguous. In addition, although gas chromatography as a method is characterized by high sensitivity, it would be difficult to use it for screening. A single test takes about one and a half hours and is associated with higher costs, because expensive apparatus and a trained laboratory are needed. Our proposal will be many times faster and cheaper, possible to use in practically every doctor's office - says MSc. Mateusz Winkowski, PhD student at the Department of Optics at the Institute of Experimental Physics of the University of Warsaw, member of the team of prof. dr hab. Tadeusz Stacewicz.

The new test method would effectively identify patients or those in the so-called risk. This would be of great importance, especially for people who are reluctant to visit a doctor or who go into treatment too late when the disease stage is advanced.

According to the National Cancer Registry, the incidence of cancer in Poland in the last 30 years has more than doubled. Malignant neoplasms are the second cause of death in the country. They kill over 100,000 annually people. Lung cancer and breast cancer are the most common cancers in men and women, respectively.

Research work on the detection of formaldehyde and ethane, as well as previous research in the field of biomarker determination in the exhaled air, are carried out by a team of prof. dr hab. Tadeusz Stacewicz in cooperation with scientists from the Optical Signal Detection Group at the Institute of Optoelectronics at the Military University of Technology. The WAT developed, among others, a sampling system that meets medical standards.

Polish science has a problem with financing, so it has to deal with it alone

The laboratory set developed by the Stacewicz team so far will allow for conducting preliminary research work. For further advanced tests, Polish scientists will need additional financing at the level of approx. PLN 10 million. If this amount could be obtained, it would allow to build prototypes of the device and carry out detailed tests of the suitability of the apparatus in medical applications.

Difficulties in finding financing for the project resulted in the idea of ​​creating a spin-off type that would make it easier for scientists to raise funds for research and expand the team with engineers, marketing specialists and administrative staff.

These activities are supported by the University Technology Transfer Center of the University of Warsaw. - An effective formaldehyde detector would not only be used in medicine. The potential area of ​​application is also industry and environmental protection. Formaldehyde is used, among others in the production of furniture, and that it is a measure harmful to health,

The European Union has announced the introduction of standards for this relationship. If this happens, you will need meters that will provide reproducible results and sufficient sensitivity that is not provided by simple electronic meters available in the trade. Also, the Polish invention has potential not only for medical purposes. Let's hope it can be financed in a timely manner.

Polish scientists have a brilliant idea. They created a "breathalyzer" to detect cancer


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