Smelling Cancer

Cancer is one of the most common and lethal disease in the world and it is always highlighted that early diagnosis is crucial in terms of cancer treatment. It is often invasive and painful to diagnose cancer with the existing methods. At this point, breath test appears as a promising non-invasive and real-time technique which allows the monitoring of metabolic status.

Volatile organic compounds(VOCs) in the exhaled breath provide in vitro detection, classification and discrimination of diseases and microorganisms. Concentration of specific VOCs in the exhaled breath can either increase or decrease depending on the type of diseases and microorganisms.

In this project, our goal is to produce a prototype which can detect the presence of breast cancer. In order to achieve this, we will engineer an artificial plasmid including promoter and reporter genes that are specific to particular VOCs unregulated in the disease. It is expected that when those particular VOCs are given into the environment, bacteria will express reporter gene hence we will get some signal. After achieving getting the signal for a particular VOC, we aim to construct logical gates and circuits by using CRISPRi system on plasmids to create well accoutred bacteria which will be able to differentiate between healthy individual and a breast cancer patient. Our future goal is to transform our prototype into a kit. So that, diagnosis of breast cancer will be simpler and non-invasive.

         Adress:National Nanotechnology Research Center
                Bilkent University
                06800 Çankaya
         Phone:  +90 555 353 7220