What Does a Dog's Nose Know?
The ovarian cancer study involves about six dogs, who are pets of people in the community. They stay with their families and spend only a few hours at the Foundation during the training day.
“We are using several different breeds currently,” Broffman said. “Most every dog has the right ‘hardware’ in their nose for this type of work, but some dogs are easier and more enjoyable to train than others.”
Currently, the Pine Street Foundation is recruiting more women to give breath samples. Researchers are looking for women with newly diagnosed or recurrent biopsy-confirmed ovarian cancer, fallopian tube cancer, or primary peritoneal cancer who live in the San Francisco Bay Area. The women would be required to breathe through a special tube prior to beginning treatment. The Foundation is also seeking women with endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome and healthy women to also give breath samples.
“As the women needed for the study must not have started treatment yet, there's a very narrow window between diagnosis and treatment for which they need to volunteer for our study,” Broffman said. “As such, recruiting enough women for the project takes time.”
Broffman says the research is ongoing and the Foundation hopes to publish its results by 2011. He says this groundbreaking research could ultimately transform cancer detection.
“The idea that there might be a chemical fingerprint unique to certain cancers that can be detected on the breath would indeed be revolutionary as it could potentially allow for the detection of cancer at earlier states than conventional screening and imaging that are currently available,” Broffman said.
For more information about the Pine Street Foundation and the ovarian cancer study, visit their website at pinestreetfoundation.org.
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