Amazing Rescue Dog Can Sniff Out Cancer In Humans
We all know how our dogs are immediately on hand no matter how quietly we open that bag of chips or close the treat cupboard’s door. And let’s not even get into the determined pursuit of an errant Cheerio that has fallen between the sofa cushions and been sniffed out from across the living room. But what if these super-human (err, canine) sensory powers could be harnessed and used for good deeds rather than the pursuit of stale treats?
Well, hold on to your leashes for this one!
While we’ve always known our best friends are ultra-sharp in regard to senses, did you realize that while humans have around 5 million smell receptors dogs possess closer to 200 million, making their sense of smell almost a thousand times stronger than that of humans?
Researchers from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) sure did and they recruited Frankie – a rescued male German Shepherd-mix – to be the first dog been trained to differentiate between benign and cancerous thyroid tissues by sniffing human urine samples.
Previously trained to recognize the “smell” of thyroid cancer, Frankie was presented with the urine samples to sniff one at a time by a gloved dog handler. He alerted the handler to cancer-positive by lying down, while turning away from benign.
The results? Frankie correctly identified 30 out of 34 samples – an impressive 90 percent rate of accuracy!
While current diagnostic techniques for thyroid cancer require a fine-needle biopsy of the thyroid gland tissues, the accuracy of canine scent detection has researchers thinking this could be an inexpensive and non-invasive alternative.
Going forward, the team at UAMS plan to expand the study by partnering with Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine in Alabama who will enrol two of their bomb-sniffing dogs in thyroid cancer detection training.
Something to really get your tail wagging? This isn’t the first time Medical News Today has reported on the cancer-detection talent of dogs. In 2014 Italian researchers revealed how specially trained dogs were able to detect prostate cancer in urine samples with 98% accuracy. And in 2013 a US study reported three dogs were being trained to detect ovarian cancer.
So remember that the next time you scold Rover for obsessing over an aging piece of kibble under the fridge!
[Source: Medical News Today]
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