SENIOR LECTURER, SCHOOL OF PSYCHOLOGY, FACULTY OF ARTS & SOCIAL SCIENCES, UNIVERSITY OF WAIKATO
After receiving funding for this research project from the WMRF, we received significant support for the
project from the HRC and the University of Waikato. The support that we received from the WMRF helped to get this project started and made this additional funding possible. The HRC funding will enable us to go beyond the training phase into blind testing phases and will also allow us to simultaneously conduct chemical analyses of the samples and work toward development or improvement of existing machine-based technology for lung cancer diagnosis.
We have successfully recruited nearly 300 patients for this study from the Waikato DHB. Each patient has provided both breath and saliva samples, which will allow us to evaluate the accuracy of the dogs with both sample types. We are also working to establish partnerships with additional clinics in New Zealand where we can recruit patients. This would allow us to increase our recruitment rate and also help to test the feasibility of a central screening system involving bio-detectors, such as dogs, or machine-based alternatives.
Seven dogs have been recruited and trained to operate the automated apparatus that we use for scent-detection research. The dogs are currently in the process of transitioning to the medical samples, as they were initially trained using a standard chemical. We anticipate that we will be able to complete the training phase of the project over the next several months, at which point we can transition into the all-important blind testing phase.