We all know that dogs have an incredible sense of smell; some can even detect oncoming seizures and strokes. New research now suggests that dogs can detect one of humanity's biggest fears - cancer.
Dogs and their incredible sense of smell
Humans rely on vision to see the world but a dog, however, is largely motivated by scent. Most people know that dogs have a better sense of smell than humans, but you may be shocked to hear that they have the ability to smell 10,000 to 100,000 times better than people. They have 300 million receptors in their noses, while humans only have six million.
Dogs can actually smell many illnesses and a new study suggests they can use their sense of smell to pick out blood samples from people with cancer with nearly 97% accuracy. What brilliant news!
New study finds dogs can smell cancer
Sadly, there is currently not one cure for cancer; the best hope of survival is detecting the illness as early as possible. Heather Junqueira, lead researcher at BioScentDx, and who was also in charge of the study, says:
A highly sensitive test for detecting cancer could potentially save thousands of lives and change the way the disease is treated.
During the study, Junqueira and her colleagues used a form of clicker training to teach four beagles to distinguish between normal blood serum and then samples from patients with lung cancer. Three beagles managed to successfully identify lung cancer samples 96.7 percent of the time and normal samples 97.5% 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.
“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.”
With this new scent detection, BioScentDx is planning on developing a non-invasive method of screening for cancer and other diseases.
Could dogs be the answer to curing cancer?
Source : Pets+ Mag