Recent research may present an innovative way to determine treatment plans for people with lung cancer. This improved system could refine the process of medication management in senior assisted living communities.
Scientific trials from the University of Colorado Cancer Center led to the creation of a device that tests organic compounds from exhaled breath to determine whether a person has lung cancer or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It can also use this information to find what stage the cancer is in.
According to the University’s press release, the device works using a very sensitive gold nanoparticle sensor. The patient blows up a balloon and the sensor traps organic compounds from the exhaled breath. They are then processed to find volatile particles. There is a new USB addition that can be plugged into a computer for even faster analysis.
The U.S. Preventative Task Force found that screening for lung cancer using a CAT scan or similar process, may reduce chances of mortality by 20 percent. However, sensitive screening methods are more likely to reveal results with false positives. The researchers created the nanoparticle sensor because they believe breath markers can provide data that shows whether nodules are malignant or benign.
One goal for the technology is to track volatile organic compounds over time to determine how treatments are working. Researchers hope a future version of the sensor could even show the subtype of lung cancer, which would allow doctors to use targeted treatment earlier in the prognosis.
According to the American Cancer Society, 2 out of 3 people with lung cancer are ages 65 and older. The average age for diagnosis is 70 years old. If lung cancer is discovered during the early stages, there is up to a 50 percent chance of survival.