Britain’s National Health Service Approves ‘Groundbreaking’ Clinical Trial To Test Cancer-Sniffing Dogs

In August 2009, Dr. Claire Guest’s labrador began behaving peculiarly. Usually a gentle dog, Daisy — who Guest had been training to detect diseases with her keen sense of smell — refused to get into the car, and instead collided into Guest a few times before “prodding” her in the chest.

Daisy’s strange behavior prompted Guest to check the area where the dog had nudged her. Tests later revealed that she had early-stage breast cancer. Her doctor told her she was “incredibly lucky” to have found it so early.

“All I could think was, what a difference Daisy has made,” Guest told The Telegraph in 2014. “I might have had to have aggressive chemotherapy. I might not have survived. That’s what made me decide: right, we’ve got to discover what’s going on.”

Six years on, a cancer-free Guest is one of the leaders in the field of disease-detecting canines. Her organization, Medical Detection Dogs, recently gained approval from Britain’s National Health Service to conduct a landmark clinical trial to test dogs’ ability to sniff out prostate cancer cells.

NBC News called the trial “groundbreaking.”

Earlier studies have suggested that dogs’ incredible sense of smell can detect subtle odors known to be associated with many cancers, such as melanoma and cancers of the breast, bladder and lung. In the case of prostate cancer, Guest says initial tests have shown trained dogs to have a detection accuracy rate of more than 93 percent.

“Our dogs have higher rates of reliability than most of the existing tests. We know their sense of smell is extraordinary. They can detect parts per trillion — that’s the equivalent of one drop of blood in two Olympic-sized swimming pools,” she told The Guardian. “We —> Read More