The Curie Institute will launch the first clinical trial to detect breast cancer in dogs, reports The Parisian this Friday. 450 women, half of whom are not sick, will participate in this project called Kdog.
During a first phase of proof in 2017, the two detector dogs, Thor and Nykios – who was also awarded as hero dog at the town hall of Paris – achieved more than 90% success in sample detection tests. This new step must therefore prove it scientifically.
“At first, I was retoched with my stories of dogs. We sent them to detect airports, bomb alerts, avalanches. Breast cancer, on a scientific level, it seemed far-fetched! With the clinical trial, we crossed a higher course. We cannot predict the result, a dog is not a tool, “says Isabelle Fromantin, nurse specialist in tumor wounds behind the project, interviewed by our colleagues.
Compresses impregnated with sweat
To do this, patients will keep compresses against their breasts overnight. Impregnated with sweat, these will then be brought to dogs, who can sniff them in cones, their sense of smell being a million times more effective than that of a human. If they smell a tumor, the dogs will stop in front of the cone to signify their find.
“The dog learns to act within a specific framework with always the objective of receiving a reward, a treat or a game”, details daily Pierre Bauêr, project manager.
If this test is not intended to replace a mammogram, it could nevertheless be used beforehand, for disabled women, isolated, or apprehending this radiographic examination.
Majors who have not had cancer are asked
Testing will begin in September. In the meantime, dogs need to train on compresses, whether sick or not. Any adult woman who has never had cancer and with a mammogram of less than six months proving it can request a kit by email at [email protected]
The method is as follows: after a shower with neutral soap included in the kit, you must apply a compress on each breast, put on a bra and then lie down in clean sheets. Upon awakening, it is imperative to wash your hands before handling the compresses which must be placed in a jar also provided.
Dogs and artificial noses
If the clinical trial is satisfactory, this method could be applied to other cancers, such as ovarian cancer. Similar tests are already underway for prostate cancer, where this time the smell of urine is analyzed by dogs. An artificial nose is also under development.
“The next step will be to compare the results between the animal and the technology,” says at the Parisian Olivier Cussenot, urologist behind the study on prostate cancer.