A new kind of Physician Assistant…a dog?

dogA study, led by Arny Ferrando, Ph.D., a professor and researcher in the UAMS Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, and Andrew Hinson, M.D., a postdoctoral fellow at UAMS, took dogs already trained for scent detection and imprinted them with fresh tissue taken from patients diagnosed with papillary thyroid carcinoma, the most common type of thyroid cancer. Fellow researcher Brendan Stack Jr., M.D., a head and neck surgeon in the UAMS College of Medicine Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, assisted with the study.

The dogs were then presented with urine samples from patients — some with thyroid cancer and some with benign nodules — and asked to indicate whether each sample had thyroid cancer or not. Their results were compared to a surgical pathology diagnosis and matched in 30 of 34 cases, or 88.2 percent accuracy.

The results so far lead the researchers to believe the answer is “yes.”