Dogs sense of smell has been found to be an excellent tool for early diagnosis of disease. In studies in Sweden, Germany, Japan and the United States, it has been shown that dogs can be trained to distinguish positive cancer samples from negative. The cooperation agreement signed at the end of 2014 makes it possible to conduct research on various diseases in Finland by using the dogs’ sense of smell.

The Hajukoira research is carried out in cooperation with the DOGRISK Research Group of the University of Helsinki, the University of Veterinary Medicine, HUS Cancer Clinic, the Department of Pharmacy of the University of Eastern Finland and the Finnish cancer detection dogs association Wise Nose. Wise Nose will train 12 dogs for science and research in 2015-2018.

The study will first explore the margin of error that specially trained cancer detection dogs find and can reliably demonstrate a taught cancer-positive urine sample. After that,  co-operation with the HUS Cancer Clinic will get started, where dogs are taught to identify, isolate and disclose different kinds and different stages of cancer.

The aim of the study is to diagnose diseases as early as possible and cost effectively, as well as to search for odor molecules for the industrialization of a possible diagnostic test.

We are currently looking for more positive urine samples to validate the research setting, ie. if you have a dog with a mammary tumor, and if you want to support both dog and human cancer research, we ask you to contact the research team;

ELK Heidi Pikkarainen (050-5920807; heidi.pikkarainen@helsinki.fi) or Susanna Paavilainen (044 504 4464; susanna.paavilainen@wisenose.fi).

The research team:

Medical Detection Dog’s (English and Italian), http://www.medicaldetectiondogs.org.uk

Research Director: ELT Anna Hielm-Björkman, University of Helsinki Department of Clinical Equine and Small Animal Medicine
Department of Pharmacy at the University of Eastern Finland: Professor Jouko Vepsäläinen
HUS: Academy Professor Heikki Joensuu and Senior Physician Johanna Mattson
HUS: Helsingin Biopankki Tuomas Mirtti LT, Specialist in Pathology
Anna Hielm-Björkman and Susanna Paavilainen went on to report on YLE’s Morning TV.