Gold nanoparticles help detect lung cancer in exhaled breath
December 29, 2019
Personalized medicine has come to lung cancer - just as in years past it has come to breast and some other cancers. The sooner and more accurately you can define the cancer subtype, the more precisely you can target the disease. This new device could eventually help doctors quickly, simply, and inexpensively define patients' lung cancer subtypes, allowing them to pair therapies with subtypes early in the treatment process.
In fact, Hirsch and his colleagues will soon publish very encouraging preclinical data showing that the device's gold nanoparticle sensors can distinguish between different types of lung cancer cells.
The device may also help doctors smooth the wrinkles in existing methods of cancer screening. For example, the National Lung Screening Trial recently reported that one of the major challenges in its more than 53,000-person study of low-dose chest CT scans to detect lung cancer was the trial's nearly 95 percent rate of false positives - CT scans found nodules that turned out not to be cancerous.
"That calls for better measures to distinguish what's a benign nodule and a malignant nodule," Hirsch says. "That's what we in the lung cancer group here at the University of Colorado Cancer Center want to study with this technology, and we have very encouraging preliminary data. We could potentially use the exhaled breath to determine who among the individuals with a CT-detected nodule should go for further work up and/or eventually treatment."
Where an $1,800 chest CT struggles, simply exhaling may succeed.
"If it works, you can imagine standing in the grocery store and having high risk people blow into a bag," Hirsch says.
Source: University of Colorado Denver