Researchers Pleased With Dogs' Ability to Sniff Out Cancer
Experts admit there is still much work to be done
Early detection devices which combine the olfactory skills, chemical analysis, and general modern medicine can lead to stronger survival rates when it comes to ovarian cancer. The cancer is particularly deadly when not caught early enough, and now the canines are proving useful in the endeavors by researchers to curtail the problem.
Using samples of blood and tissue taken from patients, the University of Pennsylvania's Working Dog Center has now begun training three dogs in order to sniff out the signature compound, which indicates the presence of the particular cancer.
The animals are found to be able to note the chemical marker created by the affliction. ‘Because if the dogs can do it, then the question is, Can our analytical instrumentation do it? We think we can,’’ Monell organic chemist George Preti said.
Over 20,000 Americans are diagnosed with the cancer each year. When caught early enough, women have a five-year survival rate of 90%; however, generic symptoms cause the affliction to be caught for too late in many cases.
According to Dr. Janos Tanyi, nearly 70% of cases are identified following the spread of the cancer. For women who find out late, the survival rate drops to 40%, according to Tanyi.
Dr. Leonard Lichtenfeld, who works as deputy chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, stated that canine's being utilized has shown particular promise over the last few years. That said, had admits there has been no major breakthroughs as of yet.
‘‘We’re still looking to see whether something could be developed and be useful in routine patient care, and we’re not there yet,’’ said Lichtenfeld, who is not involved in the study.
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