Dogs Trained To Sniff Out Cancer

Posted: Mar 04 2009

Originally published January 17th, 2007

Okay, I know that we are a few days behind on this story. It has been everywhere, from CNN to the Chicago Tribune. But, if this is true, it could be a huge medical breakthrough. The story? A recent test showed that Dogs Could Detect Cancer In Humans using their sense of smell.

The accuracy rate of the test (99%) is raising a lot of eyebrows in the medical community. According to the Chicago Tribune, some doctors are skeptical:

“The near-perfection in the clinic’s study, as Dr. Donald Berry, chairman of biostatistics at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, put it, “is off the charts: There are no laboratory tests as good as this.” As a result, he and other cancer experts say they are skeptical, but intrigued.

Michael McCulloch, research director for the Pine Street Foundation in Marin County, Calif., and the study’s lead researcher, acknowledged that the results seemed too good to be true.”Yes, we were astounded as well,” McCulloch said. “And that’s why it needs to be replicated with other dogs, plus chemical analysis of what’s in the breath.” He is applying for National Science Foundation grants to try just that, he said.”

Who knows? Perhaps this was a flawed test. Or, perhaps there is something to this. But either way, this is obviously an opportunity that scientists will be jumping at. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

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