(NaturalNews) Canines apparently possess a unique olfactory trait that allows them to sniff out the presence of cancer in the breath of people with the disease. And a new pilot study out of Austria suggests that dogs just might be the wave of the future as far as early detection is concerned, with recent trials showing an incredible sniffing success rate among patients with lung cancer.
The results of the preliminary trial, which were published recently in a scientific journal, indicate a fascinating ability among dogs to literally sense the presence of cancer earlier and more successfully than many modern detection methods. Using 120 breath samples, the European researchers were able to determine that the dogs used for the trial were successful in detecting 70 percent of cancers, which clearly illustrates the animals' amazing ability.
"Dogs have no problem identifying tumor patients," explained Peter Errhalt, head of the pulmonology department at Krems Hospital in Austria and author of the study, to AFP about the findings.
The investigation was a follow-up to earlier hypotheses about dogs' apparent abilities to detect all sorts of diseases simply by being near people who had them. It also piggybacks earlier research from 2011 that identified a canine's ability to detect early-stage bowel cancer, a condition that is apparently very difficult to detect using even modern medical technologies. (http://www.naturalnews.com/031240_cancer_dogs.html)
"The specific cancer scent indeed exists, but the chemical compounds are not clear," explained Dr. Hideto Sonoda from Kyushu University in Japan to BBC News last year about this mysterious and unknown cancer scent that dogs are able to pick up. "Only the dog knows the true answer."
And it is this answer that the researchers in Austria hope to discover through further research. By learning precisely what mechanism exists in dogs' noses that allows them to detect cancer, as well as the specific compound they are smelling, researchers could one day develop new, practical tools for cancer detection. And the Austrian team now hopes to put together a two-year study that will reportedly be 10 times larger than the trial in order to confirm the results.
"The ultimate aim is ... for scientists to identify what scents the dogs are detecting," added Michael Mueller from Otto Wagner Hospital in Vienna to AFP. With this information, researchers can then develop some type of "electronic nose" to detect cancer in a clinical setting, without the need for actual dogs being stationed at hospitals and clinics.