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Ants can ‘sniff out’ cancer in urine, scientists find

Scientists have discovered that ants can detect cancer in their urine.

Although several types of cancer can alter the smell of urine (including some that cause an allergic reaction), experts discovered for the first time that ants are capable of detecting the scent.

Their findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences. They stated that these insects could be used to detect cancers in patients.

Professor Patrizia d’Ettorre of Sorbonne Paris Nord University was the study author. She stated: “Ants are bio-detectors that can distinguish healthy individuals from cancer-bearing ones.


They are simple to train and learn quickly. They are also very efficient and cost-effective to maintain.

This research is a continuation of a study done by Prof. d’Ettorre with her colleagues. They showed that ants could detect human cancer cells in the laboratory.

The current study involved 70 ants from Formica fusca, a species of ants, being exposed to urine samples taken from mice with and without tumours.

Learn more about cancer

After three trials, the insects were able distinguish between the urine smell of healthy mice and mice with cancer.

Researchers explained that ants have an extremely sensitive olfactory system.

PA was told by Prof d’Ettorre that they had taught them associative learning and were able to teach them the association after a few trials.

“We showed that ants could distinguish the urine from tumour-bearing mice from the urine in the urine of healthy mice.

This is closer to real life than the use of cultured cancer cells.

“We were amazed at how efficient and reliable ants are.”

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The next step is to determine if the researchers can replicate the human urine process using ants.

Research has shown that dogs can sniff out urine to detect cancer if they are trained.

Electronic devices can also detect certain types and cancers, such as breast, prostate, bladder or prostate from urine samples.

However, the human nose cannot detect the smell of cancer in urine.


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