The Japanese staff is growing a most cancers detector that makes use of the mosquito’s sense of scent
A Japanese research team has developed a small sensor to detect an odorous substance in the breath of cancer patients using olfactory receptors for mosquitoes.
An article about the development was published in the US journal Science Advances.
The team, which is mainly led by Professor Shoji Takeuchi from the University of Tokyo, aims to put the sensor, which can be manufactured inexpensively and is considered highly accurate, into practice within just 10 years.
The antennae of a mosquito have around 100 types of olfactory receptors, each designed to detect a specific odorous substance. The receptors are located on the surface of olfactory cells.
When an odor receptor binds to a specific odor molecule, a hole opens in the cell membrane so that ions can enter the cell and the odor can be recognized.
Takeuchi and other team members have developed an artificial cell membrane that has embedded a mosquito odor receptor that detects octenol, a chemical found in human sweat that can be used as a biomarker for liver cancer.
The team also made a sensor to detect the electrical current created when ions pass through the artificial membrane.
The team improved the sensor’s sensitivity by narrowing the path for injecting breath samples.
According to the team, a prototype the size of a lunch box detected octenol at a concentration of 0.5 parts per billion in breath samples within 10 minutes.
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