Researchers claim that there is an effective, inexpensive, non-invasive method to screen for cancer and it involves man's furry best friends.
According to a new study, trained dogs can detect cancer with almost 97 percent accuracy by sniffing blood samples. This latest discovery could lead to new methods to screen for cancer, change the way the deadly disease is treated, and save thousands of lives.
Dogs Use Highly Sensitive Smell Receptors To Sniff Out Cancer
Researchers used a technique called clicker training to teach four beagles to identify blood samples that were extracted from patients who have malignant lung cancer. One of the beagles, called Snuggles, unfortunately, was unwilling to learn. However, the other three successfully sniffed out which of the blood samples were from patients who have been diagnosed with the deadly disease.
The team claimed that the beagles correctly identified the lung cancer blood samples 96.7 percent of the time and the normal blood samples 97.5 percent of the time.
Aiding The Fight Against Cancer
"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 Heather Junqueira, the lead researcher at BioScnetDx who performed the experiment along with her colleagues.
"One is using canine scent detection as a screening method for cancers, and the other would be to determine the biologic compounds the dogs detect and then design cancer-screening tests based on those compounds."
BioScentDx is already on the process of using canine scent detection, which is estimated to be 10,000 times more sensitive than humans, to develop new methods to screen for cancer. While there is still no cure for the deadly disease, early detection greatly increases the rate of survival. Offering a non-invasive way to screen for cancer could improve the number of people who get diagnosed early and begin treatment before the disease advances to later stages.
The researchers said that they will continue the experiment in November with breath samples from participants who have breast cancer. They presented their findings at the American Society and Molecular Biology's 2019 Experimental Biology meeting held from April 6 to 9 in Orlando, Florida.