A breath test that can help detect cancer is one step closer to reality, according to a preliminary study published by researchers at the Israel Institute of Technology.

The research team introduced a nano-artificial nose, which is able to sniff out chemical signals of cancer in the breath of patients with lung or head and neck cancer, using a chemical method to spot markers of cancer.

80 volunteers, of which 22 had various head-and-neck cancers, 24 had lung cancer and 36 healthy patients, took part in the study, which was published in the Journal of Cancer Research.

Lead researcher, Hossam Haick, said: “There’s an urgent need to develop new ways to detect head-and-neck cancer because diagnosis of the disease is complicated, requiring specialist examinations.”

He continued saying that the team now has to test these results in larger studies to find if this could lead to a potential screening method for cancer.