It is good to see the discoverythat some dogs are able to smell the existence of cancer is been followedup. Whatever the molecule is, it canclearly be picked up by nose receptors and thus by an artificial device able todetect the offending molecule.
Discovering the molecule(s) isthe next key step and it appears it is generated across the spectra of cancertypes. It should not take too much toproduce a protocol that determines the existence of the cancer and perhaps asit is refined, even the size of the problem. Other information such as type and location may be asking way too muchbut confirming the problem is most of the way to early treatment andintervention.
This promises a simple protocoldone every five years at least to screen out victims for early treatment. At least it is not invasive.
Early bowel cancer detected by dogs in Japan
By James GallagherHealth reporter, BBC news
31 January 2011 Last updated at 22:34 ET
Dogs sniffed out bowel cancer in more than nine out of 10 cases.
A Labrador retriever has sniffed out bowel cancer in breath and stoolsamples during a study in
The research, in the journal Gut,showed the dog was able to identify early stages of the disease.
It has already been suggested that dogs can use their noses to detectskin, bladder, lung, ovarian and breast cancers.
said it would be extremely difficult to use dogs for routine cancer testing. UK
The biology of a tumour is thought to include a distinct smell and aseries of studies have used dogs to try to detect it.
The researchers at
Kyushu University used Marine, an eight-year-old black Labrador.
She was asked to pick from five samples, one of which was from a cancerpatient and four from healthy people.
In the breath tests she picked out the cancer sample 33 out of 36times.
The specific cancer scent indeed exists, but the chemical compounds arenot clear. Only the dog knows the true answer”
Dr Hideto SonodaKyushu University
She was even more successful with the stool samples, finding 37 out of38 cancers.
Even early bowel cancers were detected, which is notoriously difficult.
The NHS screening programme tests for small amounts of blood in faeces,but the researchers believe it picks up only one in 10 early cases.
One in 20 people in the
develop bowel cancer during their lifetime and more than 16,000 die each year. UK
Dr Hideto Sonoda, from Kyushu University, said: "It may bedifficult to introduce canine scent judgement into clinical practice owing tothe expense and time required for the dog trainer and dog education.
"Scent ability and concentration vary between dogs and also withinthe same dog on different days.
Some earlyresearch on developing an "electronic dog's nose" has takenplace, which shows the potential for a cancer breath test.
Dr Sonoda told the BBC: "The specific cancer scent indeed exists,but the chemical compounds are not clear. Only the dog knows the trueanswer."
"It is therefore necessary to identify the cancer specificvolatile organic compounds [smells] detected by dogs and to develop an earlycancer detection sensor that can be substituted for canine scent judgement.
"To complete the sensor useful in clinical practice as a newdiagnostic method is still expected to take some time."
Nell Barrie, science information officer at Cancer Research UK, said:"Although some dogs seem to be able to smell cancer in certain situations,we're still a long way from understanding exactly what they are detecting andthis small study in one dog doesn't give us any new clues.
"It would be extremely difficult to use dogs as part of routinetesting for cancer, and that's why further research in this area isconcentrating on finding out more about the molecules given out by tumours, tosee if they could be detected in other ways."
Mark Flannagan, chief executive of Beating Bowel Cancer, said:"This study looks interesting but it is for the scientists to verifywhether these findings could lead to future developments for screening.
"The clear message is that screening saves lives and we encourageeveryone eligible to take part in the existing NHS bowel cancer screeningprogramme."