Diagnosis by smell of insects – healing practice

Breakthrough in cancer diagnosis achieved

Will be in the near future Diagnosing insect cancer in humans? The latest research results suggest this, because it was possible with the help of the sense of smell of insects and a special sensor different types of oral cavity cancer to identify.

In a recent study by experts at Michigan State University investigated whether locusts can identify different types of cancer based on their sense of smell. The results can be found on the English-language preprint server for life sciences “BioRxiv”.

Diagnosis of diseases by animals

In the past, animals were trained to detect certain diseases in humans. For example, dogs can sniff out cancer or COVID-19.

Can insects smell cancer?

Now there is one novel approach to diagnosing cancer by insects. A so-called VOC-Sensor based on the neural circuitry of insect olfaction.

Evidence of cancer in exhaled air

That the Metabolic processes in cancer cells are altered, according to the researchers, has already been clearly proven. This is reflected in the composition of the volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the exhaled air of affected persons.

The researchers constructed a new VOC sensor for which an in vivo insect brain was first combined with an electrophysiology platform. With this
For that, by the Composition of volatile organic compounds of the individual cell cultures triggered neural olfactory reactions in the so-called Antenna cloths analysed, a brain area in insects.

Insects sniffed out three types of oral cancer

On the one hand, it was possible three different types of human oral cavity cancer reliably distinguished from each other. On the other hand, using the sensor also enabled the three types of cancer from one distinguish non-cancerous oral cell lineaccording to the team.

Classification of oral cancer works reliably

By evaluating the VOC-elicited neuronal responses of cancer and non-cancer, we show that the classification of oral cancer based on the olfactory neuron response is sensitive and reliable‘ the researchers report.

It took 250ms to detect the cancer

Another advantage is that this brain-based approach to identifying cancer leads to results very quicklywith the detection time according to the researchers being only 250 ms lies.

The team also demonstrated that the new method of diagnosing cancer is effective in changing chemical environments that mimic natural conditions.

Our brain-based cancer detection system incorporates a novel VOC sensing method that will fuel the development of other advanced technologies for non-invasive cancer detection‘ the experts summed up. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of medical specialist literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical professionals.


  • Alexander Farnum, Michael Parnas, Ehsanul Hoque Apu, Elyssa Cox, Noël Lefevre, et al.: Harnessing insect olfactory neural circuits for noninvasive detection of human cancer;in : BioRxiv (veröffentlicht 25.05.2022), BioRxiv

Important NOTE:
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. He can not substitute a visit at the doctor.



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