Woman's foster dog has a part-time job learning to sniff out cancer

The dog, Ivey, is training at the Penn Vet Working Dog Center.
3:52 | 05/15/19

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Transcript for Woman's foster dog has a part-time job learning to sniff out cancer
We're going to move to our new series "Doggie M.D. Bt about how her best friends are torquing to save lives and will meet research dogs that have this helping to detect cancer at its earliest stage. Meet ivy. Like most dogs loves to play and go on walks with her human. Anna, ivy's foster human? She protects me from the vacuum cleaner and only way I can vacuum is giving her peanut butter at the same time. Reporter: When she's not eating grass and lounging around the house she's on the job at the Penn vet working dog center training to sniff out cancer. Good girl. Reporter: Here researchers are taking blood plasma from real cancer patients and placing them into canisters on this wheel. She's only partway through her training so instead of cancer they have her hunting for a substitute odor. A click tells her she's got it. Good girl. Reporter: But now they call in osa with the real cancer in place. Good job. Reporter: But despite what you might think, the end game is not for the dogs to sniff out cancer in people, rather to help scientists perfect an electronic nose that will. It may not look as cute as these snouts but essentially doing the same thing, sniffing for stage one ovarian cancer that can only be detected in later stages and scientists hope one day it will do the job even better than these four-legged friend. Good job, kid. My dream is that dogs confirm that the electronic nose is working and we get that out into hospitals so that thousands and thousands of women can be screened. Reporter: Dr. Cindy Otto is the executive director mean and says while it is possible for a pet to sense certain scans in their owners, a machine can ultimately more reliable. If we can help recognize this cancer early, we will save lives and we just have to get the machines as good as the dogs. Good. And Dr. Jen joining me along with her dog mason who does not do this research but is so calm in this storm. Thank you. Is this plausible? Yeah, you know what, I love about in that is takes something innate in dog, their superior sense of smell and transmits it to artificial intelligence and technology. Human brains process most of their sensory input visually. Dogs do it with their nose. You know, 300 million nose receptors in a dog compared to like 5 million for us so it's definitely plausible. They're smelling things called vocs, volatile organic compounds in certain types of cancer excreted in bodily fluids and making this in a lab into technology that could potentially add another dimension to screening for cancer. Right. I love this. And yeah, sorry we're boring you, mason. This is actually very important. This actually could go further than just ovarian cancer too. Yeah, so the certain cancers it's been looked at and it's being intensely researched, prostate, breast, melanoma, bladder, kidney, you know, those are the things that they're finding there are metabolic changes in the cells of those tumors and if dogs can smell them innately can we develop technology to help us and at early stages, you know how important that. That's the key. Because ovarian, we get to it too late. This helps us with early stage, we are on to something great. A woman's best friend. Yes. Thank you, Jen. I love to story. We need to get over as you can

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