The Formica fusca ant species was trained to move towards urine samples produced by mice with human breast tumours
1 June 2022
Ants could detect human breast tumours, according to a small study in mice. The insects may one day provide an easier and cheaper way to non-invasively identify tumours compared with sniffer dogs.
Cancer cells are known to produce molecules called volatile organic compounds, which give them specific odours. As a result, some dogs can use their highly sensitive noses to sniff out cancer, but training them can be expensive and time-consuming.
Now, researchers have shown that a species of ant (Formica fusca) can be trained …