Wednesday

Meet Casper, the homeless dog now being trained to sniff out cancer by a medical charity

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A spirited dog which was left at an animal welfare centre is now being trained to sniff out cancer.

Casper, a two-year-old spaniel, was a resident at The Blue Cross centre in Burford, Oxfordshire, for three months but failed to find a new home because of his boundless energy.

But when scientists from Cancer and Bio-detection Dogs, a medical charity based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, spotted him, they quickly adopted the liver and white dog who they said had the 'perfect temperament' for their project.

Casper is now being taught to recognise the scent of cancer in urine samples.

Claire Guest, chief executive of Cancer and Bio-detection Dogs, said: 'Casper is a very highly driven, highly active animal.

'He's not really an ideal family pet as he wants to use his brain all the time. This can make a dog disruptive in the home but it makes Casper perfect for us.

'What we do requires very bright and energetic dogs that love to work.

'So far, it's early days, but Casper is showing all the right signs. He's fantastic.'

Dogs selected by the medical charity are trained to recognise the smell of cancer cells and scientists hope the detection procedure will lead to earlier diagnosis of the disease and save more lives.

But researchers say the training regime is complicated.

Casper, who was too much for the family he came from, is expected to complete his training within four months.

Staff at the medical charity say he is making 'great progress' and showing 'huge promise'.

Along with seven other dogs, scientists are watching the spaniel to see how he operates.

From their observations, they hope to learn how to develop their own cancer detection technology.

Although there is already an electronic nose device designed for the same purpose, researchers at the pioneering centre say they are still about 15 years behind the progress made with dogs.

Ultimately, they hope to create a simple, non-invasive test to give people the earliest possible warning if they have cancer.

The project's long-term goal is to provide people with a full medical examination by means of a urine test and a breath test, conducted in a single visit to the doctor.

Cancer and Bio-detection Dogs have eight animals working on the cancer research project.

Another two animals work with diabetes sufferers and are trained to alert their owners to a fall in blood sugar levels.

For more details on the animal charity go to http://www.bluecross.org.uk/

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Presumably this dog will meet with the McCanns approval?
Gerry McCann rubbishes Eddie and Keela

Source: Mail Online