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  1. ITV Report

Perfumer Jo Malone shows how she can sniff out cancer

Jo Malone demonstrated her skills on GMB Credit: GMB

Jo Malone, who is known world-wide for her eponymous fragrance brand, has revealed she has such a heightened sense of smell she is able to sniff out diseases including cancer.

The fragrance boss put her skills to the test on Good Morning Britain, where she was pitted against a highly-trained sniffer dog Ozzie, who is conditioned to sniff out minute odours that are present in diseases.

Malone told the show how she knew that something was wrong with her husband's health from changes to his natural scent.

"My husband was very, very poorly and I kept saying to the doctors 'I can smell this smell down his neck' and they kept saying 'no you can't,' and I said 'I can'."

Tests later showed he was suffering from adrenal gland condition Addison’s disease.

Malone, 53, who is a breast cancer survivor, discovered she has a much stronger sense of smell than most people when she visited the charity Medical Detection Dogs, which specialises in training dogs to sniff out diseases.

She was able to detect amyl acetate - a chemical present in cancer - when it was diluted in mineral oil at one part in 1,000,000. Most people are unable to smell the concentration at one part in 1,000.

Jo Malone doing the sniff test on GMB Credit: GMB

Dogs can smell miniscule concentrations of odours in diseases. The animals can detect around one part per trillion - the equivalent to one teaspoon of sugar in two Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Using working dogs to sniff out diseases is a relatively new concept.

300m
olfactory receptors in dogs' noses
6m
olfactory receptors in human noses

This can add to early diagnosis that can save lives.

It's not dogs or a regular test, let's work together and get this research going so these amazing animals can help with diagnosing cancers early and then more people will survive it.

– Jo Malone

DR Claire Guest the CEO of the 13-year-old Milton Keynes-based charity, told the show "Disease causes a biochemical change, which leads to a change in our odour that can help in diagnosis.

"The potential is absolutely huge."

The charity is hosting the UK's first canine prostate cancer trial. The animals have been taught to sniff out prostate cancer from urine samples with a 93% success rate.