Have you ever heard of the field “comparative oncology?” It focuses on finding new methods to treat cancer in pets, mostly dogs, in order to develop innovative treatments for humans and other animals. Why not use lab animals, such as mice? Mice do not normally get cancer – it has to be induced; they are poor models for studying the reactions of human immune systems fighting cancer. Because dogs get cancer naturally, their immune systems are more intact and their version of cancer involve many of the same genes and biological similaries as humans’.
Medical and veterinary schools are collaborating to find new treatments for lymphoma, bladder cancer, and more. Researchers hope that studies in dogs can create promising results and data. Not everyone is convinced on the idea that pets will be helpful for testing treatments on people, but the notion of using canines as a model for human cancers has a recent history in osteosarcoma, the most common bone cancer.
The questions we pose to you is: should we look into other domestical animal species for possible treatments?
To learn more about how canine cancer research may improve treatments for humans, read Laurie McGinley’s article here.