USA Today reports that in a recent experiment, dogs were able to smell lung cancer in samples of human blood with 97% accuracy. The experiment was run by Heather Junquiera, who is a researcher at BioScentDx, a pharmaceutical lab in Florida.
Three of the four beagles in the experiment correctly identified the blood samples with lung cancer 96.7% of the time. They identified normal samples 97.5% of the time. The fourth dog was “unmotivated to perform.” All of the dogs were two years old.
It is possible for dogs to do this because their smell receptors can be as much as 10,000 times more accurate than human.
Junquiera presented her findings at the annual American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology meeting. Her results could lead to new cancer-screening approaches.
"Although there is currently no cure for cancer, early detection offers the best hope of survival," Junqueira said.
"A highly sensitive test for detecting cancer could potentially save thousands of lives and change the way the disease is treated," she said.
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