Researchers Turn Locusts Into A Freakishly Effective Cancer-Detection System

We know grasshoppers as the infamous insects that cause quite a nuisance. Now, however, researchers at Michigan State University have developed a way to turn locusts into a cancer screening system.

Researchers turned creepy grasshoppers into a freaky cancer detection system

Also read: Tiny worms smell cancer from lung cells in saliva and urine with 70% accuracy

Led by Professor Debayit Saha, technical uses surgically altered grasshoppers with electrodes implanted in the lobes of their brainsThe electrodes were there to pick up signals from each insect’s antennae that helped them determine odors.

Alternatively, the team cultured three different types of cancerous human oral cells, along with some healthy ones, and built a device to capture gases emitted from those tissues.

Using the device, they made the insects smell a whiff of the gases and found that locust brains reacted differently to each tissue type. In fact, they were able to distinguish between diseased and healthy cells using just the uptake of the gases.

Although the application of a locust screening may be a bit far-fetched. The insect was mostly dead, and researchers just kept its brain alive. In addition, the study has not yet been peer-reviewed.

Researchers turned creepy grasshoppers into a freaky cancer detection system
University of Michigan

Also read: Why don’t so many tobacco smokers get lung cancer? New study has the answer

Regardless, researchers are continuing their work on the project. The current system uses about six to ten locust brains to function. Researchers hope that the new electrodes will allow them to record more neurons, making a single locust brain sufficient for individual screening.

Researchers also want to make the device that holds the grasshopper’s brain and antennae portable in nature, so they can use the system outside of a lab setting.

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