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Device sniffs heated urine to detect bladder cancer

July 9, 2013 at 7:14 PM

LIVERPOOL, England, July 9 (UPI) -- Scientists in Britain say they built a device that can read odors in urine to help diagnose patients with early signs of bladder cancer.

Chris Probert of the University of Liverpool's Institute of Translational Medicine and Norman Ratcliffe of the Institute of Biosensor Technology at UWE Bristol said there are no reliable biomarkers to screen patients for bladder cancer in the same way that there are for breast and cervical cancers, but previous research has suggested a particular odor in the urine could be detected by dogs trained to recognize the scent.

"It is thought that dogs can smell cancer, but this is obviously not a practical way for hospitals to diagnose the disease," Ratcliffe said in a statement. "Taking this principle, however, we have developed a device that can give us a profile of the odor in urine. It reads the gases that chemicals in the urine can give off when the sample is heated."

The team built the Odoreader, which contains a sensor that responds to chemicals in gas emitted from urine.

The device, constructed in the laboratories at UWE Bristol's Institute of Biosensor Technology, analyzes the gas and produces a "profile" of the chemicals in urine.

The findings were published in the journal Plos One.

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