Based on earlier research findings that suggest dogs can successfully sniff out bladder cancer, researchers have built a device that can analyze gases and create a readout of the chemicals found in the urine within 30 minutes.
The researchers hope the OdoReader device will prove a reliable way to detect cancer in a patient’s urine before the disease becomes a serious problem, CBS News reports. When the disease is caught early, it can often be treated successfully but, researcher Dr. Chris Probert, a professor at the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Translational Medicine in the U.K., said doctors lack biomarkers for bladder cancer or early screening methods to diagnose the disease. Cystoscopy, the test frequently used to detect bladder cancer, is expensive, invasive, and undignified, the authors write.
In their study, published last week in PLoS One, the researchers tested the OdoReader on 24 urine samples taken from patients with confirmed bladder cancer and 74 samples from patients who had urological symptoms, but no confirmed cancer. The OdoReader correctly identified 100 percent of the cancer patients, according to CBS News.
Bladder cancer kills more than 15,000 Americans each year, and about 73,000 new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2013. According to the American Cancer Society, nine out of 10 of those affected are 55 or older. In recent years, bladder cancer has been associated with Type 2 diabetes drug Actos. Studies have shown that patients who take Actos for more than one year have an increased risk of developing the disease. A number of patients have filed lawsuits against Takeda Pharmaceuticals, manufacturer of Actos, for failing to adequately warn doctors and patients of the bladder cancer risk.