One of the major issues associated with longer life expectancy in man and his best friend is an increase in the incidence of cancer.
Dr Ali Mobasheri, an Associate Professor from the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science at The University of Nottingham, says that studying tumors in dogs and humans could give us a better understanding of their shared pathogenesis.
Cancer is the single biggest cause of death in dogs over the age of 2. 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 tumors 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”.
Source: University of Nottingham