Saturday, April 12, 2014

Dogs Teaching Us a Thing or Two About Cancer Biology

The German shepherd standing on my front lawn, and his friends in the neighborhood, the rottweiler, the maltese, the shih tzus, the husky, and the other exotic breeds, have one thing in common: Like humans, they are living into their golden ages, and are increasingly showing up with diseases of old age, including cancer. Dogs once past the age of 10 years have a 50% chance of developing any type of cancer. (A 10 year old dog, depending on the breed, is same age as a 55-65 year old man.) 

All types of cancers seen in humans also show up in dogs. For example, take breast cancer: Like women, female dogs (those not neutered, or are at a breeder) also come down with breast cancer, generally called mammary cancer in dogs.

Further, not only the biology of cancer is similar in dogs and man, the dogs also respond to same cancer drugs that are used for humans.

Comparative Oncology

On March 31st, 2014, The New York Times profiled the Penn Vet Shelter Canine Mammary Tumor Program on its website. This innovative program, run by Dr Karin Sorenimo, the Professor of Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania, takes in shelter dogs for cancer treatment and care; the dogs in turn help advance research into the biology of cancer by ways that are impossible to do in humans.

Charity of the Month: American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation


American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation promotes health and well-being of all dogs by supporting research in canine diseases and dissemination of canine health information.

The Foundation embraces the OneHealth model by supporting medical, physical, and social well-being of dogs and their owners.