A new study argues that dogs can sniff out cancer found in blood samples with an impressive accuracy of almost 97%. The discovery has the potential to facilitate the spread of a new low-cost screening method across the world.
Dogs have an empathetic sense of smell since their smell receptors are up to 10,000 more accurate in comparison to those found in humans. This trait allows them to track down scents that are hard to detect by other creatures.
At this point, there is no cure for cancer, but early detection can make a considerable difference in most cases. A test that could identify cancer in its early stages would save thousands of lives each year while also changing how the disease is tackled.
Dogs can sniff out cancer
During the study, the researchers used a type of clicker training to teach four beagles how to identify the differences between normal blood samples and samples which were taken from patients who have advanced lung cancer.
One of the beagles didn’t know which to participate in the activities, but the other three dogs were able to identify the blood samples with an accuracy level of almost 97%.
The efforts of the team have paved the way for further research of methods that could become useful cancer-detection tools. One of them involves canine scent detection as a way to screen patients while the other would help the researchers to identify the chemical compounds detected by the dogs. This information could be used to create new cancer-detection tools which would be more efficient since they will target specific signs.
The study marks a significant milestone in the quest to mitigate the damage caused by cancer around the world. The lethal disease has already claimed the life of millions of people and scientist are working hard on possible treatments that could help patients. It remains to be seen if the new method will be efficient in the long run.