Portuguese designer Susana Soares has developed a device for detecting cancer and other serious diseases using trained bees. The bees are placed in a glass chamber into which the patient exhales; the bees fly into a smaller secondary chamber if they detect cancer. Scientists have found that honey bees – Apis mellifera – have an extraordinary sense of smell that is more acute than that of a sniffer dog and can detect airborne molecules in the parts-per-trillion range. Bees can be trained to detect specific chemical odours, including the biomarkers associated with diseases such as tuberculosis, lung, skin and pancreatic cancer.
The bee clinic
These diagnostic tools would be part of system that uses bees as a biosensor.
The systems implies:
– A BEE CENTRE: a structure that facilitates the technologic potential of bees. Within the centre is a BEEFARM, a TRAINING CENTRE, a RESEARCH lab and a HEALTHCARE CENTRE.
– TRAINING CENTER: courses can be taken on beetraining where bees are collected and trained by beetrainers. These are specialists that learn beetraining techniques to be used in a large scope of applications, including diagnosing diseases.
– BEE clinic: bees are used at the clinic for screening tests. These insects are very accurate in early medical diagnosis through detection on a person’s breath. Bees are a sustainable and valuable resource. After performing the diagnose in the clinic they are released, returning to their beehive.