Health Care

Why dogs can smell cancer with incredible accuracy

Why dogs can smell cancer with incredible accuracy”

Now scientist want to harness their highly evolved sense of smell to pick out blood samples from people with cancer.

Dogs can sniff out lung cancer, scientists have proven for the first time in a breakthrough which could lead to early diagnosis of the condition.

A new study has shown that dogs can use their highly evolved sense of smell to pick out blood samples from people with cancer with nearly 97 percent accuracy.

Sadly, one of the four beagles was described as "unmotivated" to participate in the research, but the other three were able to detect the cancer patients' blood samples in 96.7-percent of cases and the normal blood samples in 97.5-percent of cases. The new study, by pharmaceutical firm BioScent Dx, adds to the evidence. As part of the research, four beagles were trained using a clicker to tell the difference between blood from healthy individuals and blood serum samples from people who had malignant lung cancer. Then there's the 2011 study involving a black lab named Marine who was 97 percent accurate in detecting colon cancer among loose stool samples, which made her success rate even higher than the tests doctors do. One of the beagles, called Snuggles, unfortunately, was unwilling to learn.

Dogs have smell receptors that are 10,000 times more accurate than humans, making them highly sensitive to odours that humans could never perceive. The other three, however, performed very well, the researchers reported.

The study was presented on Monday at the ongoing American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology annual meeting in Orlando. They correctly identified the normal samples 97.5 per cent of the time.

BioScent Dx launched a breast cancer study previous year which will discover whether the same method can be used for breast cancer detection. Researchers also plan to isolate the chemical compounds in samples and find out exactly where the odor originates. As such, our furry buds have been at the center of a number of studies utilizing their noses to detect or prevent a variety of life-threatening diseases and conditions, from predicting an impending epileptic seizure to successfully sniffing out Parkinson's disease.

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