Medical Detection Dogs was invited to perform a demonstration in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen and Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, to mark its tenth anniversary year.
The Duchess of Cornwall, the charity’s Patron, was instrumental in organising the event during which the dogs displayed how they can detect cancer and Parkinson’s disease.
Working cocker spaniel Kizzy, a specially trained cancer detection dog, was first to demonstrate her work. She tested eight urine samples on a carousel piece of equipment by sniffing each sample to check each for the odour of cancer. When she came to the right sample, she stopped and sat in front of it, not moving until she was told she was correct and rewarded with a treat.
Black Labrador Peanut, a Parkinson’s detection dog, then demonstrated how he detects Parkinson’s disease from sweat samples positioned on a series of stands using canine communication technology being designed in collaboration with the Open University. Both identified the correct sample confidently in under ten seconds.
Claire Guest, CEO of Medical Detection Dogs, said: “It is such an honour to be able to demonstrate our work in front of The Queen and our Patron, The Duchess of Cornwall.
“Ten years ago I co-founded this charity and a decade on, we have made very exciting progress. This week we have announced our collaboration with a leading global research facility based in the USA, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), to develop a machine capable of detecting cancer as accurately as the dogs.
“One in two of us will now be diagnosed with cancer in the course of our lifetimes. Early detection is crucial to successful medical treatment. It is more important than ever that we develop an easy and reliable test to rocket-boost survival rates.
“I am hugely grateful to The Duchess of Cornwall and to The Queen in helping us to raise awareness of our charity so that our vital research can soon be put to practical use in saving lives.”
The charity is completing a large-scale trial into the early detection of prostate cancer with Milton Keynes University Hospital and is also collaborating with Hull and East Yorkshire NHS Hospitals Trust on a study of bowel cancer.
As well as cancer, Medical Detection Dogs is working on the early detection of Parkinson’s disease with the University of Manchester and malaria with Durham University using odour from sweat samples.