Real Name: Duane Pickel
Occupation: Dog Trainer
Place Of Birth: Unrevealed
Date Of Birth:
Location: Tallahassee, Florida
Background: Duane Pickel has been training dogs professionally since the Vietnam War; starting in 1994, he began to train his dogs to sniff out cancer cells such as melanoma. Dogs have previously been used by police departments to sniff for and find illegal drugs. The experiment focused on skin cancer because it is the most common and most difficult to detect. Duane placed melanoma cells inside plastic tubes and had one of his dogs, a schnauzer named George, try and find the tube that had the cells in it. He also had George sniff out other cancer cells from different animals. George and other cancer-sniffing dogs had a 99.8% success rate.
Duane then had a nurse, Kim Edwards, place bandages with live cancer cells on her body. Once again, George was able to locate the melanoma cells. A police officer, Eddie Messer, was also used as a test subject. He had several bandages placed on his back, including one that covered a suspicious spot that had previously tested negative for skin cancer. George, however, picked up on the spot, believing that it was cancerous. Duane's partner, Glenda Manuci, brought her cancer-sniffing dog, Breeze, to do similar tests. Both Breeze and George detected melanoma with Eddie on the particular spot. This mole was tested and eventually came back positive for melanoma.
More recently, however, the "cancer dogs" are being used by doctors in order to help sniff out cancer a full two years before a human doctor could be able to diagnose it. The American Cancer Society has become involved in the project. However, nobody knows why these "cancer dogs" have this remarkable ability.
- Kim Edwards
- Eddie Messer
Notes: The case was featured as a part of the February 7, 1997 episode.
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- Police Dog Trained to Sniff Out Cancer
- Heal, Boy! Dog taught to sniff out cancer
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- The canine way to diagnose melanoma
- Canine helps with cancer detection