The study of tumours in dogs may help explain why and how certain cancers develop, an understanding that may 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, says that there are significant similarities between certain types of human and canine cancer—such as breast cancer and prostate cancer.
According to the researcher, the two species of mammals are have similar genes, and studying the bioenergetics of canine tumours may enable scientists gain a comparative understanding of human tumour metabolism.
"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," he said.
Experts believe that research into canine cancer is easier because of the dog's extensive pedigree information. They say that this may be crucial in identifying the underlying genetic causes of cancer in dogs and humans and finding treatments that may be to the benefit of both.
"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," Dr Mobasheri said.
He presented these suggestions at the one-day symposium entitled 'Curing Canine Cancer - Human Cancer Benefit', organised by the Colorado based Morris Animal Foundation.