About Medical Detection Dogs

Why our work is so important

The UK has one of the worst cancer survival rates in Europe – because of late diagnosis. At Medical Detection Dogs we believe our research will help early diagnosis improve in the future.

Medical Detection Dogs uses the amazing power of the dog’s nose to detect human diseases. Our research is based on the dog’s ability to detect minute odour traces created by diseases.

Because dogs are able to detect tiny odour concentrations, around one part per trillion (the equivalent of one teaspoon of sugar in two Olympic sized swimming pools), we are potentially able to detect diseases, such as cancer, much earlier than is currently possible. Our pioneering work could help to speed up the diagnosis process and impact on thousands of lives.

We are very excited and proud to be carrying out an NHS ethically approved study into the dogs’ ability to detect urological cancers using their sense of smell. Alongside the urological study we are running the first NHS ethically approved proof-of-principle trial exploring the ability of dogs to detect breast cancer and have interest from many in the medical profession on the potential to detect other cancers such as lung and colorectal cancers. Our cancer work has two main aims:

  • To assist scientists through our research into the development of electronic systems (E noses) that will assist in the early detection of cancer through cheap non-invasive tests.
  • In the short term, our cancer dogs could provide additional testing for cancers that are currently difficult to diagnose reliably, such as prostate cancer.

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