Did you know! Dogs can detect cancer in blood with 97% accuracy

Modesto Morganelli
Aprile 11, 2019

The study was performed by BioScentDx's Heather Junqueira, who found that dogs had around 97-percent accuracy when detecting blood samples taken from healthy and cancer patients.

Presenting their findings over the weekend at the 2019 Experimental Biology meeting, researchers say dogs' highly evolved smell receptors can accurately pick out blood samples from people with cancer with nearly 97 percent accuracy, potentially leading to new cancer-screening approaches that are less expensive and invasive.

Dogs have smell receptors 10,000 times more accurate than humans', making them highly sensitive to odours we cannot perceive.

"A highly sensitive test for detecting cancer could potentially save thousands of lives and change the way the disease is treated", she said.

"This work is very exciting because it paves the way for further research along two paths, both of which could lead to new cancer-detection tools", said Junqueira. For more on this, check out this new study about how dogs can smell seizures before they start.

The researchers plan to use canine scent detection to develop a non-invasive way of screening for cancer. One of the beagles, called Snuggles, unfortunately, was unwilling to learn.

Dr David Crosby, head of early detection at Cancer Research UK, welcomed the results, although he cautioned that more research is needed into the area. "Developing low-priced and accurate technology, which isn't invasive, is critical in improving early detection of cancer", he said. After lung cancer the dogs were then trained to sniff out breast cancer; bowel and prostate cancers will follow in their training next.

The research was conducted by a group of researchers from BioScentDx, a U.S. based health care services company, and the findings were presented at the annual meeting of the U.S. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Community held in Orlando, Florida.

What else can dogs smell?

And cancer isn't the only disease that dogs can assist in detecting.

Diabetes: Increasingly, service dogs are helping diabetics know when their blood sugar level is dropping or spiking. They correctly identified the normal samples 97.5 per cent of the time.

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