New Therapies for Cancer Made Possible by Collaborative Efforts of Veterinary and Human Medical Professionals

cancer treatment in dog
Whole Dog Journal

Improvements in cancer therapies are being made by using dogs as research models. Our canine friend is lending us a never thought of assistance even in the field of medicine. The cancer cell of humans has a great resemblance to that of the dogs. This allows the researchers to carry out researches on the disease in an effective manner.

Dr. Behzad Toosi, a doctor of veterinary medicine, thinks that new therapies for cancer treatment in animals can help lessen the time needed for clinical development of new pharmaceutical drugs for human cancer therapy. In particular, the naturally occurring tumors which are similar to those found in humans should be studied. Dr. Toosi serves as an assistant professor at the Western College of Veterinary medicine (WCVM).

Different Species, Same Deadly Disease Cells

Dr. Toosi also believes that this development will not be one-sided. Advanced and novel drugs and therapeutics which are used for humans can be brought to the veterinary side as well.

Most importantly, cancer cell of dog possesses the same appearance and genetic coding as human cancer cells. Due to these similarities, the pharmaceutical response is also identical. This enables us to use dogs as a research model to treat cancer. Not only genetics but also the causative factors of cancer are similar in humans and dogs. To better observe the process of tumor progression in humans, researchers made use of canine cancer tumors.

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Numerous researches conducted at the University of Saskatchewan aimed to discover any similarity at the molecular level in the canine and the various human cancers. For instance, bone marrow cancer, mammary gland, lymphatic, and blood cell cancers were investigated to establish links.

The group of cell surface proteins, Eph receptor Tyrosine kinase, serve their roll in various human cancer formations. These are the subject of many researches aiming to find a cure to the disease.

Toosi’s group at the University of Saskatchewan’s Oncology research group studied the proteins involved in the process. The team concluded that protein kinases are an important and often overlooked part of cancer research. This is because kinases like the Eph receptor tyrosine kinases drive various cancer properties. Their aim is to develop therapies that can be used for both companion animals and humans.

Animal Medications Paving the Way for Human Cancer Medications

Researches don’t confirm the role of protein kinase in the canine malignancies. However, its involvement in human cancer is being given full attention and time. Moreover, scientists are investigating specific Eph receptor subtypes for their role in cancer formation. These receptor subtypes naturally occur in many non-cancerous cells. Dr. Toosi’s research group aims at investigating these untouched targets. They hope to come up with a new cancer therapy that would be beneficial for canine patients.

It is advantageous to analyze the drug response on canine subjects before giving them human medicines. Human medicines undergo way stricter clinical trials and delayed approval as compared to that of animal medications. So, this serves as a fundamental step in drug testing and approval.

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Dogs have a short lifespan and thus their cancer formation and development occur faster than humans. The clinical trials also concluded faster drug response in dogs as compared to human subjects. The availability of a huge number of drug therapies with quick drug response is beneficial for both domestic animals and humans.

Comparative oncology is the best option to come up with new drug therapies. These can benefit animals and humans alike. The similarities between the canine and human cancers get credit for the discovery of cancer medications employing comparative oncology. Human medical professionals work closely with veterinary doctors in search of a cure. This collaboration will benefit not only humans but also a variety of animals.

The Allard Research Chair, WCVM, and the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation financially bankrolled Dr. Toosi’s research team.

Adeena Tariq Lari
The author is a graduate of dental surgery from the Dow University Health Sciences, Karachi. She has an academic background in content writing as well as English literature, giving her an edge in the field. Adeena is always curious about physical and mental health. She is always passionate about research and delivering high-quality reliable content to users.