MDDI operates to make early cancer diagnosis using dogs’ olfactory system a standard of international health systems, so that an effective, non-invasive and low cost diagnosis technique can be available for everyone.
- We cooperate with public and private institutions, engaging doctors, researchers and vets in the scientific research on canine smell for the early diagnosis of cancer.
- We are affiliated with Medical Detection Dogs, sharing results and knowledge.
- Our experts train the dogs for them to be readily employed in our research projects. The more training the dog has, the more it will be effective in detecting cancer.
- We contact, engage and sustain the expenses of research institutions, so that they can provide medical staff dedicated to our projects;
- We push scientific research forward, so that canine sense of smell will be internationally adopted as an early cancer diagnosis technique;
- We work to provide a cancer screening method available and affordable for everyone, because a tumour caught in time is a defeated tumour.
Tumours release in the organism Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs – or biomarkers), which dogs, with their formidable sense of smell, are able to detect in human urine samples.
Even though dogs have been able to identify a positive sample from the negative ones with a 98% precision, it is not clear exactly what chemicals they detect: for this reason, electronic noses cannot be set to follow a specific trail, and therefore remain unsuitable to replace canine sense of smell. Further research is needed in this direction as well.
The dogs that we employ in our research projects live with their owners, who take care of bringing them to our labs and wait for them until the training or work sessions are over. This enormously reduces stress levels in the animals.
Training is exclusively based on kind techniques, with the use of rewards only, and never punishing the dog.
Training and work sessions last about 30 minutes per dog per day, so that they do not get too tired or stressed.
We select the dogs that participate to our programme also based on their attitude and willingness to work in cooperation with men. No dog that shows any sign of fear or discomfort is forced to participate to our projects.