03187: Investigating Volatile Organic Compounds as Potential Markers of Canine Hemangiosarcoma by Trained Bio-detection Dogs

Grant Status: Open

Grant Amount: $73,257
Cynthia M. Otto, DVM, PhD;; Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania
February 1, 2024 - January 31, 2026


Breed(s): -All Dogs
Research Program Area: Oncology - Hemangiosarcoma
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One Health: No


Canine hemangiosarcoma (HSA) is an insidious cancer with a high mortality rate. The goal of the proposed research is to investigate whether HSA has a distinctive odor profile that is detectable by trained dogs. Bio-detection dogs are part of a new and changing face of medical diagnoses and testing. It has already been established that bio-detection dogs can function as unique biosensors, as they possess a sense of smell that can detect changes in odor associated with specific human health conditions and can be trained to communicate which samples are indicative of a specific health condition.

While this premise has been proven for several types of human cancer and suggested for canine cancer, attention should now be turned to whether canine hemangiosarcoma also confers a distinctive, detectable odor. This type of work is important on both fundamental and applied grounds. Fundamentally, a proof of concept is required to explore whether canine HSA has a detectable and distinctive odor. If such a concept can be proven, there is a basis of evidence to pursue applications, such as the development of technology that would serve as a minimally invasive early diagnostic test for HSA. Such a test could ideally be implemented as part of the routine annual or semi-annual screening for dogs at risk and allow for earlier intervention and potentially increased survival rates.

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