July 5, 2022

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Ants can "smell" cancer;  This is how scientific study progresses

Ants can “smell” cancer; This is how scientific study progresses

Ants can learn to sniff out human cancer cells, as dogs already do but faster, according to a scientific study that suggests exploring this evidence.

Several experiments have shown recently The sense of smell in dogs can detect some cancerous tumors that emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) A person cannot comprehend it.

But this method requires a long training – between six months and a year per dog – and is expensive, On the order of tens of thousands of dollars, Explained to AFP, Baptiste Beckert, lead author of the study, which was published this week in the journal iScience.

An ethicist from the Sorbonne, Paris, tried the experiment with antsan insect that uses its strong sense of smell in its daily tasks and learns quickly.

This scientist, with the support of a team of French institutions such as the Institut Curie, chose the most common ant species in the northern hemisphere, Formica fusca.

Insects were subjected to in vitro learning protocols, They associate the scent with the reward (a drop of sugar water).

In the first ant training session He was wandering freely until he found a drop of sugar water. I also drank itinhaling the environment (with its antennae) is imbued with a specific smell “explains the researcher.

In the next stage, the insect had the option to go somewhere with the smell it had learned And another with a different smell this time without a drop of sugar water.

“If the ant had learned correctly, it would have spent more time hanging around Near the scent accompanying sugar water, in search of the reward”pointed out.

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These tests were conducted with a scent of healthy human cells and precancerous cells (produced by ovarian cancer) to see if the ants had learned to differentiate between them. Then with two diseased cells (from breast cancer) to see if the insects differentiated between the two cancer subtypes.

The researcher emphasized that “three training sessions of less than an hour were enough for them to learn” the difference between these two subtypes.

The protocol is very simple, and the training was done at home, The researcher explained during the period of imprisonment that France suffered during the spring of 2020.

Now it is necessary to analyze “the efficacy of this method thanks to clinical tests with a whole human being”, identified a statement issued by the French research organization that supported the trial (CNRS).

expertise Preliminary studies are being conducted on the urine of mice with cancer.

With information from Agence France-Presse