Hot Clicks: Scent trained K9 diagnoses thyroid cancer - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Hot Clicks: Scent trained K9 diagnoses thyroid cancer

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KHQ.COM - A scent trained K9 has been taught to diagnose thyroid cancer for the first time by smelling human urine samples. Dogs have a sense of smell 100,000 times more powerful than our own so scientists are trying to harness that strength in the medical world. The idea is that if scientists can figure out exactly what scent the cancer is giving off in the urine that a dog is able to notice, they will eventually be able to develop an electronic nose for cancer testing. This would be much less expensive that current tests and also non-invasive.

Frankie is a German Shepherd mix who has learned to smell thyroid cancer. To teach Frankie this technique over the course of six months, he was given blood, tissue and urine samples from people diagnosed with either benign thyroid disease or thyroid cancer. Frankie was trained to lay down if he smelled thyroid cancer and turn away if he didn't.

According to Medical News Today, researchers at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences gave Frankie 34 samples from different people, some with thyroid disease (benign) and some with thyroid cancer. Frankie was able to correctly diagnose 30 of those cases, an accuracy rate of 88% which is almost the same rate as a thyroid biopsy.

Previously, the dog-sniffing approach has been used in diagnosing prostate and ovarian cancer as well.


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