Man’s Best Friend May Help Find a Cure for Cancer

Dogs truly are man’s best friend. They share our lives with us, but now unfortunately, they also share our cancers.

There have been speculations for a while that there are some potential links between cancer in canines and in humans, and Dr. Chand Kanna, a veterinary oncologist, even claims that

“…If you take a human osteosarcoma, which is bone cancer, and you look at that under the microscope, the pathologist can’t tell you if it’s human or dog.”

With this in mind, researchers believe that studying dogs with cancer could help in the treatment of children who have similar cancers, such as osteosarcoma, which usually affects the long bones of the body in canines and in humans.

Osteosarcoma would benefit from this type of study in particular because though rare in humans, it is the most common bone tumor that occurs in dogs.

In addition, as of yet, there is only one FDA-approved therapy for osteosarcoma, and it is basically confined to just using very destructive chemotherapy. However, researchers are also looking into similarities between dogs and adults in lymphoma, melanoma, and soft tissue sarcoma.

Theresa Beech, a mother of an osteosarcoma patient, was extremely frustrated with this lack of treatment. To try to find better options for her son, she began researching genetics and other cancer drugs. What she found was something that she never expected: research on canines and osteosarcoma.

She discovered that since one of the problems with clinical trials for osteosarcoma drugs is getting a good model first, data on canine osteosarcoma could be transitioned over for this purpose.

Luckily, Theresa was not the only one to find this link. The Canines-N-Kids Foundation had a similar thought, so the organization began last year to help tackle childhood and canine cancers, raise awareness about the two, as they tend to be rare, and help fund research that would study each form of cancer and the connections that they share.

Dr. Kanna is extremely optimistic about this organization and potential research:

“That will determine whether new drugs improve outcomes for dogs, […] and if they do, those treatments will be prioritized for evaluations in childhood cancers.”

To learn more about this research from NBC Washington, click here!


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