A group of Japanese researchers recently announced in a science journal an economical and highly accurate cancer detection method that makes use of roundworms about 1 mm long that can identify cancer patients by sensing odors in urine.

The researchers, including Takaaki Hirotsu, assistant professor at Kyushu University, said the cancer screening test, which is painless, will cost between ¥100 and several hundred yen each time and deliver results in about 90 minutes.

The group is also working with Hitachi Ltd. and others to develop a screening device for the test, hoping to put it into practical use as early as 2019. It announced the findings Wednesday in the U.S. online journal PLOS ONE.