Dial-Up Diagnosis, Part II: Developing The "Sniffphone" App To Sense Cancer

Last week, we learned that HIV is now detectable via a cheap smartphone attachment.  Now, smartphones are getting even more diagnostically intelligent thanks to a new app that can identify cancer via a breath test...

According to Yahoo News, the new "Sniffphone" is in development by Israeli investors.  A simple breathalyzer-type test can detect gases in your breath that might be redolent of something more unpleasant than those fried seaweed snacks you insist don't smell that bad.  Micro and nano-sized sensors take inventory of the hundreds of gases in your breath and send the results to the app, which in turn sends them to a lab.

It rules your life in many other ways, it only makes sense that it would also monitor your health.
(Image courtesy techrj.com.)

With no X-rays or blood tests required, this could be a major medical stepping-stone into diagnostics for the masses.  And since early detection is key to stopping many cancers in their tracks, the phone app could go a long way towards protecting lives.  For those who already may be predisposed to cancer, accurate monitoring of the situation could add another layer of preventative care.

The Sniffphone app's creator, Professor Hossam Haick of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, explained the benefits of the invention, saying, "The Sniffphone will be made tinier and cheaper than disease detection solutions currently, consume little power, and most importantly, it will enable immediate and early diagnosis that is both accurate and non-invasive...Early diagnosis can save lives, particularly in life-threatening diseases such as cancer."

While not on the market yet, the project has received a $6 million Euro grant to continue research. According to NIH, more research is needed to make the perfect cancer app, but many have made strides in the field already. Incidentally, the gas-detecting technology used in the breathalyzer was originally invented to detect weapons and explosives. Perhaps in the near future, vigilance of our vapors will bring victory over even more medical villains.

Breathe easy, cancer-prone patients...soon the Sniffphone might be able to call for preventative help.
(Image courtesy scientificamerican.com.)

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