A new research project into the detection of prostate cancer using specially trained dogs is underway at Milton Keynes Hospital.
Consultant urologist Mr Iqbal Anjum has joined forces with MK charity Medical Detection Dogs for the study. The trained dogs sniff urine samples under strict laboratory conditions.
“This is an extremely exciting prospect,” said Mr Anjum.
“Over the years there have been many anecdotal reports suggesting that dogs may be able to detect cancer based on the tumour’s odour.
“It is assumed that volatile molecules associated with the tumour would be released into the person’s urine, making samples easy to collect and test.”
In the last few years, dogs from Medical Detection Dogs have been used to scent exhaled breath samples of lung cancer patients, along with breath and faecal samples from colorectal patients with promising results.
Patients attending one of Mr Anjum’s clinics will be invited to voluntarily take part in the research.
Urine samples will be collected and sent away to be tested by trained dogs at Medical Detection Dogs’ purpose built facility in Great Horwood.
Mr Anjum added: “A study in 2004 (Willis et al) provided a ‘proof of principle’ that cancer can be detected by olfactory methods.
“I am delighted that we are able to undertake this research and look forward to the findings.”