Sunday September 22, 2019

Dogs can Sniff out Cancer in Blood with 97% Accuracy, Says Study

The results will be presented at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology annual meeting in Florida

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doctors, blood cancer
Dogs have smell receptors 10,000 times more accurate than humans', making them highly sensitive to odours we can not perceive. Pixabay

Your canine friend, dog uses its highly evolved sense of smell to pick out blood samples from people with cancer with almost 97 per cent accuracy, a finding that can lead to new low-cost and non-invasive screening approaches for the disease, finds a study.

Dogs have smell receptors 10,000 times more accurate than humans’, making them highly sensitive to odours we can not perceive.

“Although there is no cure for cancer, early detection offers the best hope,” said lead researcher Heather Junqueira, at BioScentDx, a US-based healthcare company. “A highly sensitive test for detecting cancer could save thousands of lives and change the way the disease is treated,” he said.

For the study, the team used a form of clicker training to teach four beagles to distinguish between normal blood serum and samples from patients with malignant lung cancer.

The results showed that the pups' attractiveness was lowest at birth and increased to a maximum before 10 weeks of age before declining and then levelling off.
Representational Image. pixabay

Although one beagle — aptly named Snuggles — was unmotivated to perform, the other three correctly identified lung cancer samples 96.7 per cent times and normal samples 97.5 per cent times.

“This work is very exciting because it paves the way for further research along two paths, both of which could lead to new cancer-detection tools,” said Junqueira.

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“One is using canine scent detection as a screening method for cancers, and the other would be to determine the biologic compounds the dogs detect and then design cancer-screening tests based on those compounds,” he said.

The results will be presented at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology annual meeting in Florida. The team plans to use canine scent detection to develop a non-invasive way of screening for cancer and other life-threatening diseases. (IANS)

Next Story

Tiny Bubbles In Body Better Than Chemotherapy, Research Suggests

Researchers have found that tiny bubbles in our body might potentially be used to treat cancer and could fight the disease better than chemotherapy

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Cancer, Treatment, Chemotherapy, Tiny Bubbles, Research
"What we've done is improve a therapeutic approach to delivering enzyme-producing genes that can convert certain drugs into toxic agents and target tumours." Pixabay

Researchers have found that tiny bubbles in our body might potentially be used to treat cancer and could fight the disease better than chemotherapy.

Healthy cells in our body release nano-sized bubbles that transfer genetic material such as DNA and RNA to other cells. It’s your DNA that stores the important information necessary for RNA to produce proteins and make sure they act accordingly.

According to the researchers, these bubbly extracellular vesicles (EV) could become mini treatment transporters, carrying a combination of therapeutic drugs and genes that target cancer cells and kill them.

The study, published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, focused on breast cancer cells in mice.

“What we’ve done is improve a therapeutic approach to delivering enzyme-producing genes that can convert certain drugs into toxic agents and target tumours,” said the study’s lead author Masamitsu Kanada, Assistant Professor at the Michigan State University.

Cancer, Chemotherapy, Tiny Bubbles, Research, Treatment
A Caucasian female nurse smiles as she administers chemotherapy through a catheter to an African American male patient in a clinical setting. Wikimedia Commons

These drugs or prodrugs start out as inactive compounds. But once they metabolize in the body, they are immediately activated and can get to work on fighting everything from cancer to headaches.

Aspirin is an example of a common prodrug.

In this case, researchers used EVs, to deliver the enzyme-producing genes that could activate a prodrug combination therapy of ganciclovir and CB1954 in breast cancer cells.

Minicircle DNA and regular plasmid – two different gene vectors that act as additional delivery mechanisms for DNA – were loaded into the vesicles to see which was better at helping transport treatment.

This is known as a gene-directed enzyme, prodrug therapy.

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They found that the minicircle DNA was 14 times more effective at delivery and even more successful at killing cancerous tumours.

“Conventional chemotherapy isn’t able to differentiate between tumours and normal tissue, so it attacks it all,” Kanada said.

With EVs, treatment can be targeted and because of their compatibility with the human body, this type of delivery could minimize the risk of unwanted immune responses that can come with other gene therapies.

“If EVs prove to be effective in humans, it would be an ideal platform for gene delivery and it could be used in humans sooner than we expect,” Kanada added. (IANS)