Microscopic worms on a chip could be trained to sniff out cancer

Nematode worms can distinguish between the molecules released by healthy and cancerous cells, and could one day be used in a cancer-detection system

Move over Fido. The next animal to help people by sniffing out cancer could be a microscopic worm.

Nematodes, also known as roundworms, are attracted to a compound released by lung cancer cells. When put into a small device, the nematodes ( Caenorhabditis elegans ) wriggle towards cancerous cells in preference to non-cancerous ones, early-stage work shows.