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William and Elizabeth Shatner meet with members of the University of Pennsylvania's Ovarian Cancer Detection team and collaborators.
Watch our ovarian cancer detection dogs McBaine, Tsunami and Ffoster complete a training exercise.
   
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Ovarian Cancer Detection at the University of Pennsylvania: a collaboration among Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center, the Penn Vet Working Dog Center, and Monell Chemical Senses Center

"I was astounded at the training these dogs receive and their ability for detection." - William Shatner
A novel research collaboration at the University of Pennsylvania
Ovarian cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in women. When diagnosed early, women with ovarian cancer have a 5-year survival rate greater than 90%. However, more than 80% of patients are diagnosed at a late stage when even aggressive treatment with surgery and chemotherapy are unable to stop the cancer. Any advance that can accurately detect ovarian cancer in its early stage can have a great impact on overall survival.

The Penn Vet Working Dog Center, Penn Medicine's Division of Gynecologic Oncology at the Abramson Cancer Center, and the Monell Chemical Senses Center have collaborated to study the odors emanating from ovarian tissue to provide a reliable, detectable substrate for the early detection of ovarian cancer. This project utilizes the ability of canine and other sensors to detect the unique signature of serum samples from ovarian cancer patients versus controlled patients. It has been found that volatile organic compounds (VOC) or odorants are altered in the earliest stages of ovarian cancer, even before the cancer can be detected by current early detection methods.

In addition, the program aims to determine which sample type (serum, vaginal secretions, urine or exhaled air) is most affective and accurate for screening, and if this screening method is applicable to other cancer types. This unique program trains dogs to detect ovarian cancer by sniffing these odorants in a patient's blood sample. Research has shown that trained detection dogs and electronic nanotech devices can detect these minute quantities of odorants. The goal is to implement these methods from the Working Dog Center into the clinic to improve the early detection of ovarian cancer.
Specific Program Aims
1. Determine the sensitivity and specificity of dogs in detecting and distinguishing plasma samples from patients with ovarian cancer versus patients with benign gynecologic growths and healthy controls.
2. Identify the type and relative amounts of the volatile organic compounds which distinguish diseased from non-diseased plasma samples.
3. Test whether or not the target volatile organic compounds emanating from plasma samples is what is identified by the dogs.
4. Develop an electronic sensor array platform that will serve as the front end of a prototype e-nose system to be used in ovarian cancer detection.
Collaborators
George Preti, PhD (Principle Investigator) - Monell Chemical Senses Center
Cindy Otto, DVM, PhD - Penn Vet Working Dog Center
Janos Tanyi, MD, PhD - Penn Ovarian Cancer Research Center, Abramson Cancer Center, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
A.T. Charlie Johnson, PhD - Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Pennsylvania
Jody Piltz-Seymour, MD - Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
Please consider becoming a philanthropic partner!
We would be honored for you to become part of this groundbreaking team. Scientific research is an expensive endeavor. In today's economic climate, more and more time and energy of the academic scientist is devoted to working to obtain funding to support research. Philanthropic support is thus increasingly valuable to provide researchers the seed money to enable pursuit of novel projects and innovative directions.

To support Penn's Gynecologic Cancer Research Collaboration at Penn's Abramson Cancer Center and the Penn Vet Working Dog Center, please donate below or contact Carolyn Brown at brownca@upenn.edu or 215-573-0550. 100% of philanthropic donations are tax-deductible.
    Donation messages
    A small payback for all the work Mr. Shatner did for the #BellLetsTalk campaign in Canada on January 25, 2017. I followed him on twitter to piggyback retweets to raise money for Mental Health awareness. This is a small compensation for the time and effort he put in, as his effort helped make this campaign a success. I live in Canada, but the research you do is invaluable to all, across all borders. Well done! --Terryc2016
    Read about your wonderful work on Mr Shatner website. Whats not to love. Dogs and William Shatner! --Derek
    For Mr. Shatner's kindness to my friend Laurie. --Lisa Vonfeldt
    Because i love dogs! and Shatner! --Robridell
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