(AP) - The University of California Davis may soon be using dogs to sniff out cancer in patients as a result of innovative research that could help doctors make cancer diagnoses earlier.
The Sacramento Bee reports Monday that a team of doctors, veterinarians and animal behaviorists are training a Labradoodle named Alfie and a German shepherd named Charlie to develop their olfactory powers to better screen samples of saliva, breath and urine for cancer.
Researchers say dogs can recognize melanoma as well as bladder, lung, breast and ovarian cancers. Dogs have also been trained to distinguish breath samples of lung and breast cancer patients from healthy individuals.
The dogs are exposed to serum from patients with cancer and then to serum from patients with no cancer, and then they are trained to respond to the one positive result and ignore everything else.