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Small. 2015 Dec;11(46):6142-64. doi: 10.1002/smll.201501904. Epub 2015 Oct 8.

Nanoscale Sensor Technologies for Disease Detection via Volatolomics.

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Department of Chemical Engineering and Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, 3200003, Israel.


The detection of many diseases is missed because of delayed diagnoses or the low efficacy of some treatments. This emphasizes the urgent need for inexpensive and minimally invasive technologies that would allow efficient early detection, stratifying the population for personalized therapy, and improving the efficacy of rapid bed-side assessment of treatment. An emerging approach that has a high potential to fulfill these needs is based on so-called "volatolomics", namely, chemical processes involving profiles of highly volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from body fluids, including breath, skin, urine and blood. This article presents a didactic review of some of the main advances related to the use of nanomaterial-based solid-state and flexible sensors, and related artificially intelligent sensing arrays for the detection and monitoring of disease with volatolomics. The article attempts to review the technological gaps and confounding factors related to VOC testing. Different ways to choose nanomaterial-based sensors are discussed, while considering the profiles of targeted volatile markers and possible limitations of applying the sensing approach. Perspectives for taking volatolomics to a new level in the field of diagnostics are highlighted.


array; biomarker; disease; sensor; volatolomic

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