An Israeli startup led by a former commander of the IDF’s canine unit has raised $6.2m to develop early cancer detection screening centers staffed by Labradors.
Few people better understand a dog’s psyche and capabilities than Col. (Res.) Ariel Ben-Dayan, former commander of the Israel Defense Forces’ Oketz canine unit.
Ben-Dayan is CEO of SpotitEarly, which is building an early cancer detection system based on dogs’ superior sense of smell combined with artificial intelligence.
The user will purchase a home kit containing a surgical mask, breath into the mask for five minutes and then send it to a screening lab where the mask is inserted into a sniffing station. Several specially trained dogs will sniff the sample.
If their behavior, confirmed by an AI algorithm, indicates that cancer is detected, the person will be referred to the medical system for further testing.
According to the American Kennel Club, dogs’ ultrasensitive noses can detect the odor of cancer in breath or urine at a very early stage, when the disease is far more treatable.