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Humans have long harnessed the olfactory superiority of dogs for hunts and, more recently, to sniff out bombs, drugs and people during search-and-rescue missions. Now, scientists at the University of Pennsylvania are hoping to make early cancer detection the next frontier for canine-human collaboration. Inspired by previous research that found dogs could be trained to detect the scent of ovarian cancer in blood cells, the research team is working on a mechanical device – an ‘electronic nose system’ – to capture the same odour profile. Ultimately, the team hopes to develop a practical medical instrument to help doctors catch this deadly, elusive cancer earlier.
Video by Science Friday
Producer: Luke Groskin
Even in modern secular societies, belief in an afterlife persists. Why?
Nature and landscape
Take a serene hike through an ancient forest, inspired by a Miyazaki masterpiece
Design and fashion
The mundane becomes mesmerising in this deep dive into segmented displays
A song of ice, fire and jelly – exploring the physics and history of the trumpet
Tour the European architecture that dreamed of a wondrous, fictitious China
Trek alongside spiritual pilgrims on a treacherous journey across Pakistan
Thinkers and theories
Photographs offer a colonialist window to the past – one that must be challenged
Animals and humans
An artist and ants collaborate on an exhibit of ‘tiny Abstract Expressionist paintings’
How a curious question about colouring maps changed mathematics forever