Deborah Meaden, the businesswoman and TV star, has announced she is to become an ambassador to the Milton Keynes charity Medical Detection Dogs.
The successful UK entrepreneur and Dragons’ Den investor, who also actively supports a number of environmental charities and initiatives, offered her support to the charity which is pioneering research into the early detection of cancer using the olfactory powers of dogs.
Deborah, who owns three dogs herself, commented: “I was delighted when Medical Detection Dogs asked me to be an ambassador for a charity that does such fantastic work.
“Cancer is a terrible disease that one in two of us will now experience personally and all of us will be impacted by through friends and family. If a tumour can be caught early enough, the chances of successfully treating it soar.
“The research by the team at Medical Detection Dogs has the potential to save thousands of lives and millions of pounds for our NHS. I am incredibly proud to be associated with them.”
CEO and co-founder of Medical Detection Dogs, Dr Claire Guest said: “We are so thrilled Deborah has agreed to become an ambassador for Medical Detection Dogs.
“Deborah’s involvement will help us to further promote the potential our research has to transform cancer detection in the UK. Currently, the UK lags behind our European neighbours in early cancer detection – this is totally unacceptable. This has a significant knock-on effect on cancer survival rates.
“All the time the solution is sitting at our feet. Medical Detection Dogs can provide quick, cheap, non-invasive and reliable tests to uncover a range of cancers.”
Medical Detection Dogs trains dogs to use their remarkable olfactory powers to detect cancer in urine or breath samples. In training trials they have been shown to achieve a reliability of 93 per cent, much higher than many existing tests used by the NHS.
The charity’s second arm provides life-saving support to individuals with long-term serious conditions such as brittle type one diabetes, by training dogs to be alert to assist them. The dogs alert their diabetic partners to dangerous falls in their sugar levels and prompt them to take their medication before they suffer a hypoglycaemic attack.
“Currently we are running two clinical trials, one in partnership with the NHS Milton Keynes University Hospital into prostate, kidney and bladder cancer using urine samples and another into breast cancer using breath samples,” added Dr Guest.
“With help from fantastic ambassadors such as Deborah, Anne Robinson, Kate Humble as well as others, we can step up our fundraising efforts. We rely entirely on kind donations from the public as we receive no government funding. If we can add to our resources, the hard work that goes into our research can be transformed into practice – saving thousands of lives at the earliest opportunity.”