Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pet K9 with Cancer Help Humans

According to scientists at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), studying pet dogs with cancer could yield valuable information on how to diagnose and treat human cancers. Estimates suggest that as many as 1 million new diagnoses of cancer occur in dogs in the United States each year. The condition is treated much like human cancer, with surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.

The team of scientists, led by Chand Khanna, believes that studying these new therapies in clinical trials with dogs may yield insights into how to improve care for human patients. For example, naturally occurring tumors in dogs have clinical and biological similarities to the human disease. Dr. Khana notes that these trials are designed with the care of the animals as priority, and also that there's an informed consent process each time new procedures are done.

Moreover, Khanna and colleagues say that a pet owner's decision to pursue an experimental therapy is influenced by a number of factors, including the possible risks and benefits of the new therapy as well as the reduced costs for care provided by the trial. Additionally, many pet owners are motivated by the opportunity to contribute to the advancement of cancer treatment for future human and canine patients.

For more information, view PLos Medicine, where the researchers published their article today.

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