“Dogs are a Man’s best-friend”
In a recently conducted experiment, three beagles showed their wonderful medical capabilities. They could identify lung cancer just by a scent. Researchers stated that these dogs’ abilities to detect the disease might lead to a safe and effective means to conduct mass cancer screening.
After eight long weeks of intensive training, three beagles were chosen for their superior olfactory receptor genes. They could distinguish between the blood serum samples that were taken from patients who were suffering from lung cancer and those who were healthy. The dogs could identify the malignant blood samples with 97% accuracy.
Lung Cancer Detection
In the July edition of The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, this double-blind study made its appearance. Professor at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, Thomas Quinn said that they are using dogs to sort through the layers of scent until they can identify the tell-tale biomarkers. The lead author on this study, Quinn, also added that there is still a great deal of work to be done ahead, but they were doing good progress.
During the process, the dogs were sent into a room that had blood samples at their nose level. Some of these samples were drawn from patients with non-small cell lung cancer, and others were taken from healthy controls. After a series of thorough sniffing, the dogs sat down at the malignant samples, indicating a positive finding for cancer. They would just move on when they sniffed at the healthy samples.
Other Kinds of Cancer Detection
Post this success, Dr Quinn and his team have already started working for other forms of cancer. They are, in fact, nearing the completion of a second iteration of the study. The dogs are working towards identifying breast, lung, and colorectal cancer just by using the breath of patients that is collected in a face mask.
In their next step, researchers plan to fractionate the samples based on their physical and chemical properties. They would present the samples back to the dogs to identify specific biomarkers for each type of cancer. The final goal is to identify these biomarkers and use them to create a cost-free and a simple test for cancer that is similar to a pregnancy test.
Dr Quinn is also looking forward to developing a device that can indicate a colour change by the patient just breathing into it. Once the patient breathes into the device, there will be a change in the colour indicating positive or negative results.
Devastating Effects of Lung Cancer
Lung cancer has been identified as the leading cause of cancer death among both women and men across the world. More than 200,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer annually in the United States. For stage IA non-small cell lung cancer, there is a 92% chance of five-year survival. This drops to 13% when in stage IIIC NSCLC. After metastasis, this survival rate drops to as less as 1% depending on the stage.
Unfortunately, the screening and imaging for lung cancer are expensive and not completely reliable. The cheat x-rays have a chance of high negative rate and there are similar issues with CT scans. With this recent development, however, Dr Quinn believes that there will be a better way to diagnose solutions for cancer detection.
In his words, “Right now it appears dogs have a better natural ability to screen for cancer than our most advanced technology. Once we figure out what they know and how, we may be able to catch up.”
Hope there is more on this discovery, and our furry friends turn out to be much more important than they already are!