Puppies being trained to detect cancer

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Dogs are known for their terrific sense of smell, and now, a California based center wants to put that talent to good use.

The UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center is training two four month old puppies, Alfie and Charlie, to detect cancer in humans.

Alfie, a labradoodle, and Charlie, a German Shepherd, are participating in a 12-month training program that will teach them how to detect head and neck cancers by sniffing saliva, breath and urine samples.

Dogs’ sense of smell is thought to be 10,000 to 100,000 times better than that of humans; canine specialists are already used in the early detection of breast, lung, bladder and thyroid cancers.

The two dogs will be training over the next few months for four to six hours a day.

At eight months of age, the puppies will be taught to discriminate between cancer samples and healthy samples.

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