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AN electronic nose has been [...].

AN electronic nose has been developed that can sniff out cancer in patients' breath.

The device can distinguish between people with the disease and healthy individuals.

Scientists believe it may be especially useful for identifying patients with head-and-neck cancers which are often diagnosed late.

The Israeli researchers collected breath samples from 82 people who either had head-and-neck cancer, lung cancer, or were cancer-free.

The Nano Artificial NOSE - NANOSE - device was able to tell apart breath molecules from head-andneck cancer patients and healthy individuals.

It also distinguished between lung cancer patients and healthy participants, and between head-and-neck cancer and lung cancer patients.

Lead researcher Prof Hossam Haick, from the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, said: "There's an urgent need to develop new ways to detect head-and-neck cancer because diagnosis of the disease is complicated, requiring specialist examinations.

"We've shown that a simple breath test can spot the patterns of molecules which are found in headand-neck patients in a small, early study. We now need to test these results in larger studies to find if this could lead to a potential screening method for the disease."

The study is published in the Journal of Cancer Research, owned by Cancer Research UK.

Head of cancer information Dr Lesley Walker said: "These interesting initial results show promise for the development of a breath test to detect head-and-neck cancers which are often diagnosed at an advanced stage."

A NEW way of regenerating blood vessels could help prevent heart attacks and strokes.

The strategy involves activating supporting cells which play a key role in the construction of blood vessel walls.

Scientists used a natural chemical called fibroblast growth factor 9 (FGF9) to stimulate the support cells in mice.

"FGF9 seemed to 'awaken' the supporting cells and stimulated their wrapping around the otherwise fragile blood vessel wall," said Canadian researcher Matthew Frontini, from the University of Western Ontario.

"The idea of promoting the supporting cellular actors rather than the leading actors opens new ways of thinking about blood vessel regeneration and new possibilities for treating patients with vascular disease." Heart attacks and certain kinds of stroke occur when clogged arteries leave tissue starved of oxygen.

The new approach involves helping the body to build new blood vessels to nourish the heart and brain.

Previous attempts at blood vessel regeneration, or "therapeutic angiogenesis" have focused on the endothelial cells that line artery walls rather than the support cells.

But they have met with poor success, generating new blood vessels that did not last long or function well.

The research was reported online in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

"Heart attacks and strokes are leading causes of death and disability," said co-author Prof Geoffrey Pickering, from the same university.

"Coronary bypass surgery and stenting are important treatments but are not suitable for many individuals.

"Because of this, there has been considerable interest in recent years in developing biological strategies that promote the regeneration of a patient's own blood vessels."
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Apr 25, 2011
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