Dog detectives! Well, we can find these furry heroes in most of the crime scenes. But these sniffer dogs are not just brave crime fighters, they can also sniff out harmful disease-causing pathogens. Sounds intriguing, right? In this article, let’s explore more about dog detectives that are highly helpful in medical detection.
A study by the scientists of Imperial College London and the charity Medical Detection Dogs revealed that specially trained dogs were capable of detecting ultra-low concentrations of the lung cancer-causing pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Pa) in people with cystic fibrosis.
Let me briefly explain this medical condition. Cystic fibrosis is a hereditary disease that severely affects the lungs and the cells that secrete mucus, sweat, and digestive juices. In this case, the body produces sticky and thick mucus that clog the lungs and obstruct the pancreas. This mucus eventually traps bacteria, especially Pseudomonas in the lungs which instigates the occurrence of life-threatening lung cancer.
The dog detectives were trained to identify cultured liquid samples of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and they were rewarded whenever they gave a positive indication by sniffing it out. These dogs can easily differentiate between Pseudomonas aeruginosa and other pathogens.
The researchers claim that these dogs are more sensitive and affordable compared to the existing high-tech methodologies used for screening these pathogens. The findings of this study will have a significant impact on improvising the lives of patients with cystic fibrosis as this is one of the first studies carried out in this field. The scientists are vehemently working on advancing this research so that the people infected with this pathogen can lead a healthier long life.
“The successful training of the dogs on cultured samples will now be used as the foundation for testing patient samples directly”- Professor Jane Davies, Imperial College London