Study shows dogs can accurately sniff out cancer in blood

Dogs can smell cancer in blood with 97% accuracy study reveals

Dogs can smell cancer in blood with 97% accuracy study reveals

In this new research, scientists found that dogs could sniff out blood samples from cancer patients with almost flawless accuracy.

The study added that dogs have smell receptors 10,000 times more accurate than those of humans, making them extremely sensitive to smells we can't distinguish. "A highly sensitive test could save thousands of lives, early detection offers the best hope of survival" explains Heather Junqueira.

Lead author Heather Junqueira said: 'Although there is now no cure for cancer, early detection offers the best hope of survival.

"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", said Junqueira.

The discovery emerged just ten days after a separate study found dogs can accurately detect a telltale scent linked to epileptic seizures, suggesting they could be trained to reliably warn owners when a seizure is imminent.

Although one beagle - named Snuggles - lacked the motivation to take part, the other three dogs correctly identified lung cancer samples 96.7 per cent of the time and normal samples with a 97.5 per cent success rate.

The researchers plan to use canine scent detection to develop a non-invasive way of screening for cancer. The other three, however, performed very well, the researchers reported. "This small-scale study throws to light an interesting area of science". It means there could be an option in the future for less expensive and less invasive ways to detect cancer early on. After lung cancer the dogs were then trained to sniff out breast cancer; bowel and prostate cancers will follow in their training next.

The study was presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in Orlando.

"This study paves the way for a larger scale research project created to explore the use of canine scent detection as a tool for detecting cancer biomarkers, ultimately leading to their identification", reads the yet-to-be-published study abstract.

What else can dogs smell?

In the United Kingdom, there is already a charity using dogs to try and detect cancer by smelling people's breath. They are now working to identify the specific chemicals involved.