Dogs Scenting Cancer In Serum Samples

Beagle Scent Dogs

That dogs are world-class sniffers is old news, but a recent study has revealed a new application for their olfactory superpower: identifying cancer from blood samples.

Heather Junqueira, lead researcher at BioScent Dx, used a form of clicker-training to teach four Beagles to distinguish between normal blood serum—a clear, yellowish fluid separated from clotted blood and containing neither white nor red cells—and serum samples from individuals who had been diagnosed with malignant lung cancer.

One of the dogs—a cutie named Snuggles—declined to participate, but the other three correctly identified the samples from lung-cancer patients almost 97 percent of the time. Their success rate for identifying those from people who were cancer-free was 97.5 percent.

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