Sniffphone Prototype

Gastric detector could ‘sniff’ cancer in breath

Image credit: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland

A new device (the "SniffPhone") is being prototyped, potentially enabling the early diagnosis of gastric cancer from a person’s exhaled breath.

The new method, designed by a team at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, is being touted as a way to “revolutionise” cancer screening all over the world.

SniffPhone is a small sensor device developed for cancer screening that can be attached to a smartphone. The user holds the device in front of his or her mouth and exhales onto the sensor to give breath sample.

The device measures the contained Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) using highly sensitive nanotechnology-based chemical sensors. The measurements are sent to a dedicated cloud platform where they are analysed by the appropriate medical personnel.

The researchers said the cancer screening method has many advantages over traditional methods; it is comfortable and painless to use, and 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 clinical studies. The team now hopes to find financiers that will enable commercialisation of the device.

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

The SniffPhone project is part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 Funding Programme.

Last week researchers demonstrated an app that uses smartphone cameras to detect whether the user has diabetes. 

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