Ovarian cancer: Could you be saved by a dog?

Sad puppyOver 14,000 women die each year from ovarian cancer, which often avoids detection until it has spread. At the University of Pennsylvania, researchers are working hard to train dogs to detect ovarian cancer. The hope is that through studying disease-detecting capabilities in dogs, researchers will be able to develop a sensor that can detect cancer at early stages. With a sense of smell about a million times superior to a human’s, dogs have been used to detect bombs, drugs, insect infestations, and low blood sugar in diabetics. The dogs at U Penn are highly accurate at correctly identifying samples containing cancer cells. The goal is to study how the dogs identify these signals from different types of ovarian cancer samples and different compounds that change in ovarian cancer, and hopefully use this information to develop technology that could change a cancer patient’s prognosis through early detection. Talk about research in animals benefiting people- this is awesome!


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