Breast cancer detection

The Institut Curie in France is aiming with the KDOG programme to develop a clear and effective methodology for cancer detection by dogs, while ensuring it is repeatable, reliable and ethical, wherever it is implemented.

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Country

France

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Duration

5 years

What does the project solve?

Kdog wants to develop a clear and effective methodology for medical detection by dogs, while ensuring it is repeatable, reliable, and ethical, wherever it is implemented.

  • Breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer occurring in women, with 1 in 9 women being affected and more than 2 million cases per year. Timely screening increases chances of survival. However, many women do not have access to life saving screening facilities. This is due to various reasons including poverty, disability, isolation, and lack of medical resources. The World Health Organisation has reported that breast cancer is the cause of 15% of cancer related deaths in women, and we believe this number is far too high.

    Institut Curie researchers hypothesize that V.O.C. (Volatile Organic Compounds), and associated odors, could be a biomarker of breast cancer. Undetectable for the human nose, two methods would allow the identification of these characteristic odours: analytical chemistry and detection by canine odorology.

    Dogs have a sense of smell 100,000 to 1 million times more sensitive than humans. This means properly trained in scent detection, dogs could be able to detect the characteristic odour of a cancerous tumour in body fluids such as sweat, helping to support early detection methods.

    Using dogs to detect various diseases is an idea that has grown in just a few years from the realm of « fantasy » to recognition by the scientific community. The KDOG programme, led by the Institut Curie in France has been part of this movement since 2016.

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  • Preliminary study

    In 2016 and 2017, KDOG Team started a preliminary study. The results were more than encouraging evaluated on samples that were unknown to them, the dogs had a success rate of 90.3% in the first round! This proof of concept was presented at the Academy of Medicine on February 21, 2017.

    Clinical Trial

    The KDOG team have come up with a technique for breast cancer screening which is still under scientific study. In 2018, KDOG started the clinical trial in order to see, in a longer time, if the results would stay encouraging. Here is the basis of the clinical trial: This process sees the individual place a compression on each breast overnight to absorb the sweat and bodily fluids which is then sent back via an envelope for analysis. The method is simple, painless and the dogs are never in contact with the patients.

    1. Deep memorization phase: dogs learn to memorize the smell of breast cancer on compresses that have been directly in contact with a cancerous tumour.

    2. Reduction of the threshold level: the dog continues to train with compresses covered in sweat which had previously come from a cancerous breast.

    3. Case study: the « cancer » compress is placed in the middle of « healthy » compresses.

    4. The dog learns to identify the difference between the negative samples and positive samples.

    5. The dog works in complete autonomy (without leash).

  • In 2019, the very first International Symposium sponsored by Royal Canin gathered 24 international teams in medical detection. The main conclusions admitted that the essentials of medical detection were not yet tackled and that there is a need in leading scientific excellence in this territory to help raise the bar.

    The Institut Curie in France is aiming with the KDOG programme to develop a clear and effective methodology for cancer detection by dogs, while ensuring it is repeatable, reliable and ethical, wherever it is implemented. Thanks to the Royal Canin Foundation’s support, Institut Curie aims to develop a scientific toolbox with tools and protocols, certification training and guidelines in dog medical detection for scientific communities working on medical detection around the world.

    The aim of the project is to LEAD the territory of Medical Detection by supporting 5 programs (« 5Ps ») that answer the 5 key questions that are today the blockers to scale up in medical detection programs with dogs throughout the world.

    The goal: to offer teams who wish to engage in the detection of diseases (cancers, viruses bacteria, or others) a reliable basis of Essentials for building their work and increasing their chances of success.

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