By smell.. an insect that detects cancer

The researchers exposed the locust’s brains and then placed electrodes in areas associated with odor polarization, then exposed them to gases emitted from 3 types of oral cancer cells, as well as from a non-cancerous cell from the same area.

Scientists monitored the insect’s brain for a reaction, and the results show that each cancer releases a unique electrical signal in its brain, and the non-cancerous cells also had their own distinct signal.

The biomedical engineer who led the study, Depajit Saha, wrote: “The study shows that 3 different types of human oral cancers can be strongly distinguished by eliciting olfactory responses in the insects’ air lobes.”

It was not clear how well this method worked with other types of cancer, or whether locusts could smell the cancer in their urine, breath or sweat.

Previous research has shown that dogs can be deployed to detect many cancers, including those in the breasts and lungs, by inhaling patients’ breath.

French scientists also discovered that ants can be trained to detect cancerous and non-cancerous cells.

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