Japanese biotech firm uses tiny worms in test for pancreatic cancer
A Japanese biotech firm says it has developed the world's first early screening test for pancreatic cancer, using the powerful noses of tiny worms.
Hirotsu Bio Science this month launched its N-NOSE plus Pancreas test, marketing directly to consumers in Japan and with aims to bring the test to the United States by 2023.
Users send a urine sample through a special mail pouch to a lab, where it is put in a petri dish with a species of nematodes. The creatures, known scientifically as C. elegans, have olfactory senses much more powerful than dogs, the company says, and they follow their nose toward cancer cells.
That makes the 1-milimetre long animals a potent diagnostic tool, says company founder and chief executive Takaaki Hirotsu, who has been researching them for 28 years.