The Electric Commentary

Monday, January 09, 2006

The Amazing Cancer-Sniffing Dog

At New Scientist:

To test how well the dogs had learned, they used a new batch of samples and had the dogs attempt to distinguish among 55 lung cancer patients, 31 breast cancer patients and 83 healthy controls. The patients had all had their cancers confirmed by biopsy. The tests were double-blind, so neither the dog handlers nor the experimenters knew which tubes were which.

General symptom

The dogs correctly detected 99% of the lung cancer samples, and made a mistake with only 1% of the healthy controls. With breast cancer, they correctly detected 88% of the positive samples, and made a mistake on only 2% of the controls.

The work is convincing, says James C Walker, director of the Florida State University Sensory Research Institute in Tallahassee, US. In 2004 Walker and colleagues showed that dogs could sniff out melanomas. He says that the next step is to see if dogs are really detecting cancer, or if they might be sensing a more general disease symptom, such as one that comes from inflammation.


  • Noonan shut up!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:29 PM  

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