Dogs can smell lung cancer

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Breathing from patients provides information about lung cancer

Dogs could be used for the early detection of lung cancer. Due to the previously unknown organic compound, which indicates lung cancer in the air we breathe, every sensor technology has so far failed. However, dogs managed to sniff out tumors due to their pronounced sense of smell. A company in Austria holds the cancer sniffing dog patent.

Fine smell detects lung cancer A study published in August 201 already came to astonishing results: The dogs detected lung cancer in 71 out of 100 cases. Disruptive factors like other diseases were negligible. In 372 of 400 cases, the animals also sniffed that the test subjects had no cancer. Thorsten Walles, author of the study, suspects that there are different chemicals in the breath of lung cancer patients than in healthy people. The fine sense of smell of the dogs enables the animals to sniff out these differences.

Retired policeman Wolfgang Gleichweit has been training dogs to sniff out alkaline substances in the air we breathe that arise from cancer. While he was ridiculed for his idea in 2003, the success of his dogs proves him right today. Of 54 dogs, nine remained, with whom Gleichweit still works today. In cooperation with the Austrian company "Darwin", he registers the patent for test series.

70 percent accuracy in lung cancer Doctors examined the accuracy of the dogs in a pilot project that could gain international recognition in cancer research. The study with 1,200 volunteers from Austria, in which the dogs have to distinguish between lung cancer and other lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), started in September this year. According to the doctors, the dogs had a hit rate of 70 percent. Project manager Theodor Doll could not confirm information from dog trainers at the same time, according to which his dogs would even reach almost 100 percent. So far there is no scientific evidence.

The doctors hope the pilot project will provide insights into how dogs can sniff out lung cancer in order to develop appropriate medical technology for the early detection of lung cancer.

Search dog teams from all over Austria were used for the already completed study. The retired police officer wants to work on his own research projects with his non-profit association. (sb)

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