Sniffing Out Diseases

Dogs can sniff someone’s “olfactive signature” and somehow smell that you’re coming home even before you’ve entered the door. They can also determine when you’re ill and know how to “treat their human” in such situations. Vince Rotello and his research team at the University of Massachusetts has applied the same principle by devising a ‘nano-nose’ able to recognize some pathological conditions just by “sniffing” body fluids such as plasma or cerebrospinal liquid, for instance.

Just like a very sensitive nose, gold nanoparticles with six different types of coating are able to bind various proteins and establish a pattern that gives an assessment of the physiological state of the subject. Such electronic noses had previously been developed for small molecules and had been able to diagnose certain diseases – like cancer – but this is the first time that coated nanoparticles can identify larger molecules such as proteins.

This new diagnosis method will help faster determination of various pathological states, and therefore allow the treatment to be delivered more quickly.

A set of gold nanoparticles with various coatings can identify proteins by mimicking the way the human nose distinguishes scents. US researchers are using them to detect signs of illness in bodily fluids.

Source: New Scientist

Share This With The World!