Researchers have begun an ovarian cancer detection study that relies on dogs’ keen sense of smell. The University of Pennsylvania’s Working Dog Center is training three canines using blood and tissue samples donated by ovarian cancer patients.
Currently there are three dogs in the program who are learning to sit and bark in the presence of certain odors. When they can detect the right smell they are rewarded with chew toys. Cindy Otto, one of the researchers is hoping the dogs will be able to find what chemicals or “fingerprints” there are that cause the Ovarian cancer. If dogs can help detect this it will be a huge step in curing the disease.
She also thinks that automated testing could become available which would reduce costs of detection as well as be very efficient. Ovarian Cancer usually affects 20,000 patients each year and most times diagnosis comes too late.
Hopefully the combination of old school dog sniffing and modern technology and create a breakthrough.