Organic Chemist George Preti, Who Studied Smells as Clues to Disease, Dies in Hatboro at 75
George Preti, an organic chemist who studied bodily odors to find ways to use them to detect disease, died of cancer in Hatboro on March 3, aged 75, writes Sam Roberts for The New York Times.
Preti devoted his career to discovering how smells can distinguish human beings like fingerprints and then used that knowledge for clues on behavior, disease, and much more.
“We’re all little chemistry factories,” Preti said in The New York Times interview in 1995. “We have bacteria mingling with excretions from the body that form a variety of odors depending on what part of the body we’re talking about.”
He specifically examined the potential of body odors in diagnosing disease. Then with input from cancer specialists and animal behaviorists, he trained dogs to identify the smell profiles of ovarian cancer before it spreads to other organs.
This typically occurs by the time it is detected by a scan or by physical sensation – using blood samples.
He was working on perfecting a system that would effectively be an electronic nose before he died.
Read more about George Preti at The New York Times by clicking here.
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