Are Ants the Future of Cancer Detection?
Cancer diagnosis is frightening, invasive, time-consuming, and expensive. And more than 1.6 million people get that cancer diagnosis every year in the United States. That's a lot of biopsies and a lot of looking at cells under highly sensitive microscopes. But imagine if detecting cancer in those samples was as simple as taking a whiff. We know some animals – like dogs and mice – have very sensitive noses that can sniff out disease. Inspired by those studies, French scientists decided to explore whether ants—known for their olfactory prowess—could do the same.
@swyambhu Cancer cell metabolism produces volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – organic chemicals that smell and can serve as biomarkers for diagnosis. To train the ants to target VOCs, the researchers placed breast cancer cells and healthy cells in a petri dish -- but the cancer cells included a sugary treat.