Researchers at the University of Michigan, in the United States, found that the brain of locusts is able to recognize gases emitted by three types of cancer cells present in tumors in the mouth. The insects were also able to differentiate samples from patients without cancer.
According to scientists, cancer recognition was done quickly, and quite effectively. The research was published in pre-print only, and has not yet been peer-reviewed by the scientific community.
The test was done by placing electrodes on the locusts’ brains. Then, the samples were released in the insect antenna region, the area where odors are detected. It was observed that samples with cancer triggered different reactions in the insect brain.
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According to the National Cancer Institute, for each year of the triennium 2020/2022, about 625 thousand cases of the disease will be recorded in Brazil. Apart from skin cancer, the most common types that affect Brazilians are prostate, breast, cervix, lung, stomach, oral cavity and thyroid.Science Photo Library – STEVE GSCHMEISSNER, Getty Images
Extremely common in the country, skin cancer is characterized by the appearance of tumors on the skin in the form of spots or spots with irregular shapes. Related to prolonged exposure to the sun, exposure to artificial tanning cameras or for hereditary reasons, the disease can be treated through surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.miriam-doerr/istock
Breast cancer is caused by the uncontrolled multiplication of cells in the breast. Although common in women, the disease can also affect men. Among the symptoms of the disease are: pain in the breast region, hardened lump, redness, swelling and bloody secretion. Treatment involves surgery to remove the breast, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormone therapy.SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty Images
More common in men, prostate cancer has the following symptoms: blood in the urine, difficulty urinating, the need to urinate several times a day and the delay in starting and finishing urinating. Surgery and radiation therapy are among the treatments for the disease.Getty Images
Although it may be related to hyperthyroidism, smoking, changes in sex hormones and diabetes, for example, thyroid cancer is still not well understood by experts. Despite this, treatments against the disease involve hormone therapy, radiotherapy, radioactive iodine and chemotherapy, depending on the case. getty images
Lung cancer is one of the types with the highest incidence in Brazil. Related to the use or prolonged exposure to smoking, its main symptoms are shortness of breath, chest pain, recurrent pneumonia, bronchitis, bloody sputum and frequent coughing. The disease is treated with chemotherapy, radiotherapy or/and surgeryBSIP / getty images
In Brazil, squamous squamous cell carcinoma has the highest incidence among stomach cancers. Treatments involve surgery or radiation and chemotherapyiStock
Stomach cancer is diagnosed after identifying malignant tumors spread throughout the organ that can appear as ulcers. Related to infections caused by Helicobacter Pylori, by the presence of ulcers and untreated chronic gastritis, for example, the disease can cause vomiting with blood or blood in the stool, frequent belly pain and constant heartburnSmith Collection/Gado/Getty Images
Cervical cancer has symptoms of intermittent vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain related to bowel or urinary complaints, and abnormal vaginal discharge. Treatment involves chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.Science Photo Library/GettyImages
Oral cancer is a disease that involves the presence of malignant tumors on the lips, gums, roof of the mouth, tongue, cheeks and bones. It is more common in men over 40 years old and has as symptoms oral cavity sores, tongue stains and neck nodules, for example. Treatment involves surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.pexels
It is unknown whether the results would be similar in other types of cancer, and whether the insects would also recognize the cancer in the patients’ urine, breath or sweat. Currently, the test is done with a sample collected with a swab in the patient’s mouth and the diagnosis is made in up to 10 days.
However, the insects used in the experiment do not survive after having their brains opened for the test. One of the main problems with this type of study is the difficulty in applying it in real life.