Dogs Sniff For Cancer

Dogs can detect cancer through their sense of smell, according to a study published last weekend in the British medical journal BMJ. Three cocker spaniels, a Labrador, a papillon and a mongrel were trained by sniffing a urine samples during weeks of training. Gas chromatography studies have shown that some tumors exude minute amounts of formaldehyde, alkanes and benzene derivatives not found in healthy tissue.

Overall, the dogs had a 41% success rate. Some scientists suggested that they just needed better training. However, all six of the dogs were able to detect cancer in the urine of a man who was used as a control (thought to be cancer-free). When tested further, he was found to have a kidney tumor.

This is not the first time a dog has been trained to detect cancer. In 1990, a bomb-sniffing schnauzer in Tallahassee, Florida was retrained to sniff humans lying on a table and to place his paw on tumors. In tests, the dog correctly found melanomas on six of seven patients.

Humans have also sniffed for diagnostic clues; Hippocrates described the fruity odor of diabetes in the breath.

Even though dogs have the edge on humans when it comes to the sense of smell, people are fighting back with electronic noses. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology have been working on a sniffing machine called the E-Nose. It uses computers and sensing film to do the work. The intent is to develop a device that can smell "problem" contaminants in the air before they become apparent (and a danger) to the astronauts. The paperback-book sized unit has already taken a ride on the Space Shuttle and proved that it was able to smell and identify contaminants in the air.

Science fiction fans may recall the modded dogs in John Brunner's 1976 novel Shockwave Rider; they were genetically modified for higher intelligence, and were used to sniff out people who lie or use undesirable substances based on their body odor.

Read more about cancer-sniffing dogs at Moist Nose Shows Promise in Tracking Down Cancers; read more at the Electronic Nose website.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/29/2004)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Medical ")

MIT Ampli Blocks Build Biomedical Devices
Damn it Spock, I'm a doctor not an engineer!

Handheld Human Skin Printer
It outputs a thin wad of uniflesh.

Retinal Prosthesis Uses Organic Printing Inks
We can rebuild you - well, your eyes, maybe.

New Brain Scanner Lets You Move Around
'In Bob Arctor's living room his thousand dollar custom-quality cephscope crafted by Altec...' - Philip K. Dick, 1977.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Swarm Of Mindless Robots Works Together
'Very tiny pseudo insects that... can unite to form a superordinate system.'

SpotMini Robot Dog, Autonomous And On Sale In 2019
Great, an autonomous slamhound. It is cute, though.

RoboFly Is Laser-Powered, Adorable
Don't swat this fly!

MSG Sphere Las Vegas, ala Star Wars
'The smoky globe, hung in the vault, was shot with colored light...'

Tetraplegics Dominate Avatar Races
Well, just speaking brain-to-computer...

MIT Ampli Blocks Build Biomedical Devices
Damn it Spock, I'm a doctor not an engineer!

UberAIR Asks For Skytaxi Landing Prototypes
You know you want to ride in one.

Boring Tunnel Almost Ready
Your underground future is calling!

Handheld Human Skin Printer
It outputs a thin wad of uniflesh.

Healthy Fast Food Courtesy Of Robot Chefs
'The electric cook was stirring empty nothing in a pan, with a zeal worthy a dozen eggs.'

Mass Production Of In Vitro Meat From One Sample
They're Assimilating Our Culture, That's What They're Doing

Amazing 'Hybrid' Solar-Powered Sea Slug Does Photosynthesis
Thank goodness for Star Trek.

Retinal Prosthesis Uses Organic Printing Inks
We can rebuild you - well, your eyes, maybe.

Should You Submit Your DNA To A Database?
Consumer DNA services are often inaccurate.

Squid-Like Robots Soon To Be 3D Printable
'It was a chemotactic artificial jellyfish designed to slither...'

Humans Evolve Deep Diving Abilities
Sounds like '60s sci-fi to me.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.