New Study: Beagles Can Detect Cancer Better Than Current Technology

| Lifestyle
Beagles Smell Cancer
Alexey Androsov/Shutterstock

Earlier this month, the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) released an incredible study. They managed to train a group of adorable beagles to detect cancer! This goes way past “therapy fluffies!” Read on to discover one of the coolest scientific breakthroughs of the year…

Beagles Who Sniff Out Cancer

Beagles Smell Cancer

Believe it or not, dogs are about to become even more perfect than they already are. No longer are they just great companions and beloved family members. Now, scientists have discovered they can also detect cancer in early stages! Talk about truly becoming “man’s best friend.”

Last week, the LECOM published a study in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, explaining how they managed to train beagles to detect lung cancer. Researchers developed the idea because beagles are famous for their “superior olfactory receptor genes.” The study took nearly two months of planning and testing. First, the team laid down blood sampled from healthy adults and adults with lung cancer. Then, they taught the dogs what to do. If the beagles sniffed the blood and detected nothing, they wouldn’t react and continue on. Meanwhile, if they detected cancer, they would sit down.

The results of the study? The beagles achieved 97% accuracy! With such successful research, the LECOM hopes future technology might come from the discovery. They hope, by studying and attempting to mimic the beagles’ abilities, to make early cancer detection easier, cheaper, and more common.

Modelling Technology After Beagles

Beagles Smell Cancer
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association

The results simply astounded the team at the LECOM. 97% accuracy in detecting and identifying lung cancer is unheard of and a significant breakthrough. In a press release, the head of the study, Dr. Thomas Quinn, said, “We’re using the dogs to sort through the layers of scent until we identify the tell-tale biomarkers. There is still a great deal of work ahead, but we’re making good progress.”

In the future, the team of scientists hopes to train dogs to detect breast and colon cancer, as well. Furthermore, they hope to teach them to detect via breath samples instead of blood. Meanwhile, they also want to study why the beagles can detect cancer so well and, then, model technology after the dogs’ special abilities. They said they’re aiming for something similar to a pregnancy test, an over-the-counter product, that in a single try, can detect cancer easily. Dr. Quinn added, “Right now it appears dogs have a better natural ability to screen for cancer than our most advanced technology. Once we figure out what they know and how, we may be able to catch up.”

The Most Effective Way To Detect Cancer

Early Cancer Screenings

This incredible reveal and future plans to detect cancer is groundbreaking. Researchers, doctors, and specialists had been saying for decades that the best way to prevent cancer is by early detection – almost all doctors agree that there will never be a cure-all for cancer. However, this breakthrough might help doctors catch it early when it’s treatable and/or removable. We’ve taken our first step on an incredible journey, and we all eagerly wait to see where it takes us. It’s all very exciting, to say the least! Plus, wouldn’t we all rather head to the doctor’s office and hang out with a dog, than have a nurse we don’t know take a sample of our blood?

In the end, the researchers concluded, “…current methods of early detection rely on expensive imaging equipment, which can be an insurmountable obstacle for underserved and rural communities. Further investigation into the biochemical molecules detected by dogs could provide a foundation for the development of a highly sensitive, specific, and cost-effective method for early cancer detection.”