SAN DIEGO — Everybody poops. It might be cliché but it's the truth, it can also tell you a lot about your body.
"Oh wow, do you have a dog poop for me?" exclaims Shaun Singer outside Nate's Point Dog Park in Balboa Park.
It might be a strange thing to ask but Singer and his wife Stephanie Culler will give you $5, for a bag of your dog’s poop and a little bit of your time.
The pair are a husband-and-wife team. Dr. Stephanie Culler is the founder of Persephone Biosciences in Torrey Pines, a laboratory that analyzes gut bacteria to develop medicine for cancer treatment.
And, you need to get your data somewhere. That’s where Shaun, the director of “Poop for the Cure” comes in.
"The last four years through campaigns like 'Poop for the Cure' we've collected 1000s of stool samples from cancer patients, and healthy patients nationwide." says Dr. Culler "We are able to to really understand which microbes in our microbiome impact treatment response."
So after man’s best friend does his business, what can that teach us about fighting cancer in humans?
"Turns out dogs actually have more than 60% in common in their mircobiome, to us. They live in our environment, some of them eat the same food, they drink the same water" says Dr. Culler "we've now realized dogs have cancer at the same rates that humans do. And we can potentially understand cancer in dogs to better our treatments in humans."
After each poop is scooped, it’s put somewhere cold and the owner fills out a form about their dog’s health. To complete her research Culler needs donations of stool samples from dogs with cancer, something difficult to come by.
In order to find a cure, scientists need to look everywhere. Sometimes, it can be on the bottom of your shoe.
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