Can mice detect odour of neoplasm​ before clinical symptoms?

Agata Maria Kokocińska-Kusiak, Institute of Genetics and Animal Breeding of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland

Summary of Talk: Recently the ability of animals to distinguish odours of humans suffering from some diseases as cancer, tuberculosis, as well as alerting episodes of hypoglycaemia in diabetes type I or seizure was increasingly reported. Animals are also able to discriminate sick and healthy conspecifics probably on the base of odour. In the last decade the possibilities of using sense of smell of trained and untrained animals have been studied. The most widely studied species are dogs that were used in detection research like: lung cancer (Amundsen et al. 2014), breast cancer (McCulloch M., Jezierski T., et al. 2006), melanoma, (Pickel, Manucy, et al. 2004), colorectal cancer (Sonoda, Kohnoe, et al. 2011), bladder cancer (Willis, Church, et. al. 2004), hypoglycemia (Hardin, Anderson, Cattet, 2015), seizure (Strong, Brown, Walker, 1999). There is also known that another species are able to distinguish odour of healthy and unhealthy individuals like rats in detection of tuberculosis (Edwards, Ellis, Watkins et. al. 2017, Ellis, Mulder, Valverde 2017) or mice, which can distinguish by odour: parasite infections (Kavaliers et al. 2003; Ehman and Scott 2002), influenza (Penn et al. 1996), mouse mammary tumor virus (Yamazaki et al. 2002) and inflammatory processes (Arakawa et al. 2010). Pathological processes involve production of either new volatile organic compounds (VOCs), that were not present in healthy individuals, or changes in the proportion of particular VOCs. Trained mice have been shown capable to distinguish urinary odours from conspecifics with and without experimentally induced lung cancer tumors (Matsumura et al. 2010), however, until now we did not know at what moment the smell appears. In this research I have proved that mice are able to train to distinguish neoplasm and healthy samples by odour and I found the moment of odours appears. I will present my groundbreaking research that led to the discovery of cancer biomarkers.


December 3, 2018
Session 1: Olfaction 2018: Recent Scientific Advances & Perspectives – The Sense of Smell in Health
9h00  -  12:30