When you meet him, Chester is a fun, high energy dog who loves playing catch but there’s much more to Chester than meets the eye. He’s a canine employee who is part of an intensive research project at UAMS. It’s a program that’s training dogs to detect thyroid cancer cells. Arny Ferrando is one of the team members leading the project at UAMS.

“We’re the only ones in the world to ever do this for thyroid cancer,” said Ferrando. “We use dogs because a dog is capable of detecting things in parts per trillion which is the equivalent of a teaspoon of something of an Olympic size swimming pool or greater.”

“It really takes a high drive dog to want to seek out the common denominator in all the samples they’re presented,” she said.

Stephanie and Chester are a pair with a purpose that could change the world by catching cancer cells and helping to save millions of lives.

At this point the project is still in the research phase, but Ferrando said researchers are close to publishing the promising results. The use of the service dogs is not meant to be the primary diagnostic in patients but a supplemental diagnostic tool.