Penn vets train dogs to sniff out ovarian cancer

University of Pennsylvania
A study at Penn Vet is exploring early detection of ovarian cancer by dogs.
Credit: Rikard Larma/Metro

A study being conducted at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine’s Working Dog Center is using dogs’ noses in an attempt to increase early detection of ovarian cancer.

Volatile organic compounds, or odorants, are altered in the earliest stages of ovarian cancer, even before the disease can be detected by current methods. Research has shown trained detection dogs and electronic devices can detect minute quantities of these odorants.

Now, three puppies — two Labradors and a springer spaniel — are being trained to detect these ovarian cancer odorants in the Penn study.

“These odorants remain a relatively untapped source for cancer detection information,” Dr. Cynthia Otto, director of the Working Dog Center and associate professor of critical care at Penn Vet, said in a statement issued by Penn. “By utilizing the acute sense of smell in detection dogs in conjunction with chemical and nanotechnology methods, we hope to develop a new system of screening for ovarian cancer using analysis of odorants to facilitate early detection and help decrease future cancer deaths.”

Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the United States. Ovarian cancer typically is not detected until it has spread to other parts of the body, making a cure far less likely.

The joint study by Penn’s veterinary school, physics and astronomy departments, gynecologic oncology division and Monell Chemical Senses Center is being funded by an $80,000 grant from Kaleidoscope of Hope Foundation.

The initial study will evaluate and compare the ability of canine and other sensors to detect the total odorant signatures that distinguish disease from healthy samples, according to Penn. Future studies will determine the best tissue substrate for evaluation and will measure odor differences among various tumor grades.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Sprint and T-Mobile offer further price discounts

Sprint unveiled a plan on Thursday that gives subscribers access to unlimited data for $60 a month, the industry's cheapest unlimited data offering.

National

Hundreds pay it forward at Florida Starbucks in…

The spontaneous chain of kindness continued for about 11 hours, totaling 457 transactions by the time it ended.

National

Weather system east of Caribbean could turn into…

An area of low pressure located east of the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours, U.S. forecasters…

National

U.S. hospital to discharge doctor treated with experimental…

An American doctor who contracted Ebola treating victims of the deadly virus in Liberia has recovered and will be discharged on Thursday by the Atlanta hospital that treated him with…

Movies

Review: 'When the Game Stands Tall' is both…

The high school football saga "When the Game Stands Tall" fumbles around for a focus while Jim Caviezel offers the most low-key coach in history.

Movies

Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…

The Word

The Word: The Zac Efron-Michelle Rodriguez summer fling…

  Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance…

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…