Research being carried out at the medical department of the University of Missouri is looking into the serious possibility of a new detection device that can discover if a person has a wide range of serious illnesses including asthma, lung cancer, types of breast cancer, or diabetes with a simple urine test or more surprisingly a breath test.
The researchers believe that they can create a new type of machine that can analyze a person’s breath in a very similar way to the police breathalyzer machines work, to discover that they are carrying the markers that indicate the presence of one of these deadly diseases.
These markers have various names that are linked with different conditions, these indicators; nitric oxide, acetones or alkanes and are used by doctors to give an indication of possible serious problems within the human body.
The university researchers believe that both human urine and human breath contain minute traces of these elements within gas molecules that their device will be able to detect.
Once detected the machine will be able to make measurements that although not conclusive will give a good indication as to whether further investigation should be carried out such as a series of blood tests or an invasive biopsy.
The new sensor has the not very catchy name of the opto-fluidic ring resonator, aka, OFRR and involves a special glass tube that collects the breath gases and guides them into the machine which then separates the molecules and a special light is used to analyze the sample of breath or urine.
These types of so-called, Optical gas sensors are ready widely used by many industries and the military. But this would be the first time that this technology is to be used to potentially detect serious medical conditions.