CANINE CANCER, the single biggest cause of death in dogs over two years of age, has recently received a boost which in turn that could lead to better treatments for both canine and human cancer patients.
Dr Ali Mobasheri, an Associate Professor from the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science at The University of Nottingham, recently attended a one day symposium on cancer cures, organised by the Colorado based Morris Animal Foundation, the first event of its kind to be held in this country.
The incidence of bone cancers, skin cancers, and lymphomas is increasing in humans and dogs and there are significant similarities between certain types of human and canine cancer – such as breast and prostate cancer. Dr Mobasheri says we are all mammals with similar genes and studying the bioenergetics of canine tumours will allow us to gain a comparative understanding of human tumour metabolism. He said: “We are using high throughput screening techniques to identify new biomarkers of prognostic significance in cancer. The approach involves using clinical samples from a tissue bank to carry out hypothesis driven immunohistochemical studies to look at tumour metabolism”.
Certain breeds of dog are known to develop certain types of cancer. For instance Osteosarcoma (bone cancer) is common in the Greyhound and the Rottweiler. It is also the sixth most common cancer seen in children. Research into canine cancer is easier because of the dog’s extensive pedigree information. Experts say this could be crucial in identifying the underlying genetic causes of cancer in dogs and humans and finding treatments that could be to the benefit of both.
Dr Mobasheri said: “The benefits of taking a comparative approach to cancer research will be of mutual benefit to humans and companion animals. That is because cancer is cancer. It is a similar disease in animals and humans”.