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Dogs Can Smell Cancer in Blood With 97% Accuracy, Study Suggests

The findings could lead to new cancer-screening approaches.

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Dogs can use their amazing sense of smell to pick out blood samples from people with cancer with nearly 97 percent accuracy, a new study suggests.

Science Daily reports that the results “could lead to new cancer-screening approaches that are inexpensive and accurate without being invasive.”

“Although there is currently no cure for cancer, early detection offers the best hope of survival,” said Heather Junqueira, who is lead researcher at BioScentDx and conducted the study. “A highly sensitive test for detecting cancer could potentially save thousands of lives and change the way the disease is treated.”

Junqueira was set to present the research at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology annual meeting. That event was to take place during the 2019 Experimental Biology meeting April 6-9 in Orlando, FL.

For the study, Junqueira and her colleagues “used a form of clicker training to teach four beagles to distinguish between normal blood serum and samples from patients with malignant lung cancer,” according to Science Daily. Although one beagle was unmotivated to perform, the other three dogs correctly identified lung cancer samples 96.7 percent of the time and normal samples 97.5 percent of the time.

“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,” Junqueira said.

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“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 plans to use canine scent detection to develop a non-invasive method of screening for cancer and other  diseases.

Read more at Science Daily

Since launching in 2017, PETS+ has won 16 major international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact PETS+'s editors at editor@petsplusmag.com.

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