Dogs Sniff For Cancer

Dogs can be trained to sniff for lung cancer, as shown in new research published in the European Respiratory Journal.


(Sniffer dog for lung cancer in training)

Author of the study, Thorsten Walles from Schillerhoehe Hospital, said: "In the breath of patients with lung cancer, there are likely to be different chemicals to normal breath samples and the dogs' keen sense of smell can detect this difference at an early stage of the disease. Our results confirm the presence of a stable marker for lung cancer..."

This new study aimed to assess whether sniffer dogs could be used to identify a VOC [volatile organic compound] in the breath of patients. The researchers worked with 220 volunteers, including lung cancer patients, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients and healthy volunteers. They used dogs that had been specifically trained.

The researchers carried out a number of tests to see if the dogs were able to reliably identify lung cancer compared with healthy volunteers, volunteers with COPD and whether the results were still found with the presence of tobacco.

The dogs successfully identified 71 samples with lung cancer out of a possible 100. They also correctly detected 372 samples that did not have lung cancer out of a possible 400.

SF 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.

Via Science Daily.

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