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Study: Beagles Sniff Out Early Lung Cancer

Study: Beagles Sniff Out Early Lung Cancer

(Press Association via AP)

By    |   Thursday, 20 June 2019 06:15 PM

Beagles were able to detect early lung cancer by scent in blood serum samples with 97% accuracy, researchers say.

In a study published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, the researchers concluded the dogs’ highly developed olfactory systems could ultimately be used to identify biomarkers associated with various types of lung cancer.

In the study, three beagles — chosen for the superior olfactory receptor genes — were trained for eight weeks, and were then able to distinguish between blood serum samples taken from patients with malignant lung cancer and healthy controls with 97% accuracy, the American Osteopathic Association said in a statement.

“We’re using the dogs to sort through the layers of scent until we identify the tell-tale biomarkers,” lead author Thomas Quinn, professor at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, said in the statement.

“There is still a great deal of work ahead, but we’re making good progress.”

Quinn and his team are nearing completion of a second iteration of the study: The dogs are working to identify lung, breast and colorectal cancer using samples of patients’ breath, collected by the patient breathing into a face mask. Researchers say findings suggest the dogs are as effective detecting cancer using this method.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide for both women and men, and more than 200,000 people annually in the United States receive a diagnosis of lung cancer, according to the AOA.

The AOA noted costly screening and imaging for lung cancer is not always reliable. Previous studies indicated 90% of missed lung cancers occur when using chest X-rays, and CT scans have difficulty identifying small, central, juxtavascular lung cancers.

“Right now it appears dogs have a better natural ability to screen for cancer than our most advanced technology,” Quinn said in the statement. “Once we figure out what they know and how, we may be able to catch up.”

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Beagles were able to detect early lung cancer by its scent in blood serum samples with 97% accuracy, researchers say.
beagles, cancer, research, study
316
2019-15-20
Thursday, 20 June 2019 06:15 PM
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