The dogs have an olfactory receptor 10,000 times more accurate than human and therefore are highly sensitive towards smells that we can not even perceive.

A new study now shows that our four-legged friends can use their “super-nose” to detect the presence of tumors in human blood samples with an accuracy of about 97%. The results could lead to truly innovative, inexpensive, precise and non-invasive cancer screening approaches, BioScentDx experts led by Heather Junqueira are convinced, who will present this research at the ongoing American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology annual meeting in Orlando, Florida (USA).

Junqueira and colleagues used a form of clicker training (a positive conditioning system) to teach four Beagles to distinguish between normal blood and blood from patients with malignant lung cancer. Within the small group of animals, three dogs correctly identified the contaminated samples in 96.7% of cases and normal samples in 97.5% of cases.

BioScentDx aims to use the canine detection system to develop a non-invasive mode of screening for cancer and other life-threatening diseases. As a next step, the company launched a breast cancer study in November, aimed at studying the olfactory capacity of animals starting from the breath of the sick.