“Man’s Best Friend” Advances Cancer Research
An article published in this week’s edition of PLoS Medicine discusses the important role dogs play in cancer research in the United States. There are approximately one million new cancer cases in dogs in the United States each year. These cancers are treated in much the same fashion as cancer in humans, with surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Dogs also have human-like reactions to cancer. For example, they experience a wide variety of cancers and tend to have relapses, just like humans. These qualities, in addition to the fact that they are not treated in a research facility, but in a home setting like humans, makes them better subjects for study than mice or rats. What this means for dogs is that they have access to the most advanced experimental cancer treatments long before humans. Some owners embrace these treatments not only for their potential to save a beloved pet, but for their role in advancing medicine. For more information, see the New Scientist.