A novel urine test for early detection of lung cancer is combining AI and one of the most sensitive biosensors known to man – the Long Evans rat.
Dr. Michal Mark Danieli, Founder and CEO, EARLY Labs
December 2023

One of the cancer biomarkers that is drawing increasing attention in the scientific community is the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).

In the past few years, it has been widely acknowledged that each cancer type has its own unique VOC odour signature, that can be found in bodily fluids, however, no effective clinical application has yet been achieved. At least not until now.

While other companies are trying to pinpoint the specific cancerous molecule structure, we found a way to identify the actual existence of the signature in urine samples.

In EARLY’s lab in Israel, a multidisciplinary team of scientists is developing a novel biosensor test platform, detecting lung cancer in urine samples, from its earliest stages. Initial double-blinded clinical trial results (N=400) show groundbreaking results of 93% sensitivity in stage I lung cancer samples, and 88% overall specificity.

The test is based on a unique Machine Learning (ML) algorithm analysing the motion sensor inputs received from Long Evans rats when exposed to the scent of urine.

Rats can smell in parts per trillion, which is 1000 times more sensitive than any man-made device – such as electronic noses and gas analysers, and we spent the last 2.5 years developing a proprietary protocol training rats to identify and report when sniffing urine samples containing lung cancer odour signatures.

The rats operate as an integral part of an automated platform. Each urine sample is conveyed to be exposed and sniffed by several biosensors (rats) inside smart pods – sequentially, a sort of “wisdom of the rat crowd”, and various behavioural parameters are digitally recorded by the platform sensors and uploaded to the ML algorithm.

The test is currently detecting lung cancer, but the platform, which is patented in Israel and the US (pending PCT), can be applied to detect other cancer types – and a colon cancer test is already in the company’s pipeline.

For its clinical trials EARLY is collaborating with several major health centres in Israel, Korea, and the US including Memorial Sloan Kettering (NYC) and Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Boston).

In a few years, a simple urine test that people can take at home will reliably detect multiple types of cancer, from its earliest stages. This is not fantasy: with widespread early detection tools, cancer can be managed more efficiently and transformed into a chronic disease that people can live with. Just like they did with HIV.

Get in touch EARLY is looking to collaborate with additional partners across the World to enhance its R&D efforts and accelerate its route to make its transformational solution widely accessible. To explore further contact us at info@earlylabs.io