The ancient Greeks recognised that people had a characteristic odour when suffering from various diseases, but it wasn't until comparatively recently that this finding has been used clinically. Dogs have been known to be able to detect cancer by smelling it and other animals have been shown to detect an odour signature from diseases such as tuberculosis. I will describe the use of animals in detecting disease and then discuss what it is the animals can smell. Knowing this, the question is whether we can make an electronic nose, or "dog in a box" and whether such a device will ever replace standard diagnostic methods.
Speaker: Prof Claire Turner, The Open University