Dogs Sniff For Cancer
Dogs can detect cancer through their sense of smell, according to a study published last weekend in the British medical journal BMJ. Three cocker spaniels, a Labrador, a papillon and a mongrel were trained by sniffing a urine samples during weeks of training. Gas chromatography studies have shown that some tumors exude minute amounts of formaldehyde, alkanes and benzene derivatives not found in healthy tissue.
Overall, the dogs had a 41% success rate. Some scientists suggested that they just needed better training. However, all six of the dogs were able to detect cancer in the urine of a man who was used as a control (thought to be cancer-free). When tested further, he was found to have a kidney tumor.
This is not the first time a dog has been trained to detect cancer. In 1990, a bomb-sniffing schnauzer in Tallahassee, Florida was retrained to sniff humans lying on a table and to place his paw on tumors. In tests, the dog correctly found melanomas on six of seven patients.
Humans have also sniffed for diagnostic clues; Hippocrates described the fruity odor of diabetes in the breath.
Even though dogs have the edge on humans when it comes to the sense of smell, people are fighting back with electronic noses. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology have been working on a sniffing machine called the E-Nose. It uses computers and sensing film to do the work. The intent is to develop a device that can smell "problem" contaminants in the air before they become apparent (and a danger) to the astronauts. The paperback-book sized unit has already taken a ride on the Space Shuttle and proved that it was able to smell and identify contaminants in the air.
Science fiction fans may recall the modded dogs in John Brunner's 1976 novel Shockwave Rider; they were genetically modified for higher intelligence, and were used to sniff out people who lie or use undesirable substances based on their body odor.
Read more about cancer-sniffing dogs at Moist Nose Shows Promise in Tracking Down Cancers; read more at the Electronic Nose website.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/29/2004)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )
Related News Stories -
Skin Electronics Can Show Electrocardiogram
'... the young men in the streets who applied polyimde OLED body film to their bared shoulders.' - Chen Qiufan, 2019.
Neurodevices For Consumers? Neuroethicists (And Philip K Dick) Say 'Caveat Emptor'
'They tried to use it today and it wouldn't work. No colors and no ceph patterns, neither one...' - Philip K. Dick, 1977.
BrainEx Restores Some Activity To Severed Pig Head
'... they placed the brain in a special solution, having all the properties of Nursing the brain cells.' - Edmond Hamilton, 1929.
Purdue Pharma Ready To Profit From OxyContin Use Or Addiction Recovery
'It may be organic damage. It may be permanent. Time'll tell, and only after you are off Substance D for a long while.' - Philip K. Dick, 1977.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Nobe 3-Wheel Electric Vehicle Parking Like I, Robot
Spidercar, Spidercar, does whatever a spidercar does.
Michelin Self-Sealing Tires On Ford's Explorer
'...a seal of compressed plastifoam to save the air.'
Mushroom Eats Plastic, Saves Planet
Fungus Amongus, SaveUs!
Juggalo Face Paint Disrupts Facial Recognition
'... designed to foil facial recognition systems.'
Mojipic Smart Voice Vehicle Emojis
KITT, what's your response?
Unusual Twist On Woman Dates Robot
'My hearing, vision and awareness went along with that excellent imitation of a young Adonis...'
BrainNet Triple Telepathic Gaming Threat
'In the gloomy half-darkness the three idiots sat babbling.'
AVAS Noisemakers Required For EVs By EU
'...a sound tape to supply the noise of a soi-disant "[internal combustion]" engine...'
Pun Generation Via Neural Nets
'You said you wanted him to be able to distinguish between laugh-power in different gags...'
Blood Battery Robotic Fish
'With one fluid motion, it surged forward, plunged, and was gone.'
Lightyear One Solar-Powered Electric Car (Design By Heinlein)
'It drew its power from six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'
'Agression Detectors' Don't Work When Spying On Students
'The professional agitators had also learned how to modulate their voices below the danger level...'
Mining Of Golden Asteroid Foretold In 1898 Science Fiction
'This must be a golden planet—this little asteroid.'
Miners! NASA Wants To License RASSOR Excavator
'The borers had been dismantled and packed away.'
Bee+ Robobee Now With Four Wings
'It was a tiny thing, scarcely more than an inch and a half in length...'
CNSILK Robotic Spider Builder
'We could certainly spin a web right through the Solar System, if we can think of a good use for one.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories