You’ve heard stories about dogs saving lives (my own dog shielded me from a fire when I was a newborn!), but here’s a new one for you: some really amazing dogs are learning how to detect ovarian cancer before modern medicine can. That’s right: dogs can detect faint odors associated with the disease.
The dogs over at the University of Pennsylvania’s Working Dog Center are being trained to bark or sit when they smell anything that suggests cancer. Cindy Otto, the director of the center, hopes that once scientists can identify what marker the dogs are detecting in the blood of ovarian cancer patients, organic chemists can combine olfactory science with technology to formulate a device capable of doing what only the dogs can do today. This is a big deal: the work of these dogs could lead to breakthrough in the way we understand and diagnose cancer. About 20,000 Americans are effected each year by ovarian cancer, and earlier diagnosis could help to change that drastically.
Dogs like Springer Spaniel puppy McBane are hard at work, enjoying chew toys along the way. Their schnozes have the potential to save lives; can we get a round of applause for these canines?