Japanese scientists are developing a way to detect cancer using worms and urine

Jonathan Fisher

Japanese researchers say that they have come up with an accurate method to detect cancer by using nematodes and human urine. Their findings show that Caenorhabditis elegans— roundworms that are roughly one millimeter long — were able to detect cancer in humans by sensing odors in urine.

In the Nematode Scent Detection Test, the researchers gathered 242 urine samples and realized that the test had a sensitivity rate of 95.8%.

The nematodes were also able to detect cancer in five of the samples that had not been categorized. For unknown reasons, the roundworms did not react to any of the blood samples in the study.

According to the Japan Times, the scientists involved in the study have partnered with Hitachi to develop a screening device for the test in the hope of making it commercially available as early as 2019.

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