Cancer is one of those deadly diseases which often goes unseen unless it goes to the middle or late stage. We are all aware as to how late-stage cancer can be destructive. The chances of survival are very low and people start praying for miracles. On top of all that, there is the immense cost that goes into treating cancer patients. However, all of it can be solved if one could detect cancer in any person from an early stage. That’s why many scientists are trying to use AI and other instruments which can help in the early detection of cancer cells.
However, a Florida startup has taken a different route. They have gone for low-cost live detector-dogs. They are trying to see if the sniffing ability of dogs can be used to detect cancer cells and surprisingly, they are getting positive results.
The study was presented by BioScentDx in Florida. The study was held for understanding the process of detection of cancer with the help of dogs, at Experimental Biology, a biomedical and life science research conference. A behavioral tactic known as clicker training was implemented to train 4 beagles to differentiate malignant lung cancer samples from healthy cells. While one of the beagles was not willing to engage in the study and stayed aloof, the other 3 was excited and started performing. And they did well too. They were able to detect the samples of lung cancer with an accuracy of about 96.7% and detecting the healthy specimens with an accuracy of about 97.5%.
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Heather Junqueira, one of the researchers, has seen a lot of promise with this new discovery. She says that now cancer detection can be done in two ways using the ‘canine detection’ technique. One is by using dogs’ smelling capabilities as a screening method for detecting cancer. The other could be researching on how the cancer cells are being detected by canines, finding out what compound is responsible for it, and then extracting and using it to build cancer-screening tests.
Hopefully, this method can bring a lot of change in the cancer screening process and help save millions of lives in the near future.