University of Otago TV Set

Training Dogs to Detect Cancer

Various presenters

Two videos are included here. The first describes the statistics of diagnostic testing and the second develops the science including health details, procedures, as well as the selection, training, and care of appropriate dogs.

Diagnostic testing is described in a general context with an explanation of sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values. Focus then turns to ongoing research investigating the ability of dogs to detect prostate and bowel cancer.

Currently in the proof of concept phase, this research is initially training the dogs on laboratory grown cells with validation experiments to be undertaken. If successful the focus will turn to using patient samples to estimate diagnostic accuracy and investigate how this would be used in clinical practice to improve patient outcomes.

Video 1

The Statistics of Diagnostic Testing

The concepts of Sensitivity, Specificity, False Negatives, and False Positives are described leading to Proof of Concept using laboratory-developed samples.

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Video 2

Dogs and Science Working Together

Details of a quick, accurate, and non invasive diagnostic test are outlined to show Proof of Concept from laboratory-developed urine samples, selection and training of the dogs from these samples, and discussion of a clinical trial to assess success on actual patients.

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Video content recorded and edited by Robert van der Vyver and the Media Production Unit[1]
Web site developed and maintained by Greg Trounson[2] and John Harraway[2]
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1: University of Otago
2: Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Otago