At the university’s Working Dog Center, three dogs have been trained to literally sniff out the disease. While the science of dogs being used to detect diseases isn’t exactly new, the study hopes to use the results to build advanced cancer detection tools.
The Associated Press reports that researchers used test subjects’ blood and urine samples to train the canines to utilize their well-known radar-like sense of smell to detect a compound that shows the cancer is present. If the study is successful, there is the potential to replicate the test with a newly created electronic sensor.
“If we can figure out what those chemicals are, what that fingerprint of ovarian cancer is that’s in the blood – or maybe even eventually in the urine or something like that – then we can have that automated test that will be less expensive and very efficient at screening those samples,” Working Dog Center Director Cindy Otto told the AP.
Success would more better survival rates for the cancer.
In 2004, British researchers showed dogs could detect bladder cancer through similar methods.