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New advances in human cancer research will mean more options for our pets

Cancer research in humans is constantly evolving and so too is our knowledge of how cancer starts and how it progresses in our pets. In human medicine there are now agents which act on specific molecular or genetic targets. The good news for us as pet owners is that these agents are also now being studied for dogs and cats.

One of the biggest issues we have in the field of veterinary medicine however is that, the way that cancer develops in people is not necessarily the same way it develops in dogs and cats. In 2005, scientists sequenced the entire dog genome. This means that they know the molecular makeup that is shared by every dog (see The Dog Genome Project at the National Human Genome Research Institute). Using this information, researchers can then learn more about how cells “talk” to one another, what causes them to transform into cancerous cells, and what makes these cancer cells spread.

Researchers at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna are involved in a new study trying to learn more about canine genetics and cancer cells in an effort to find more effective veterinary cancer drugs.

By studying the genes involved in making normal cells into cancerous cells, the researchers hope to then be able to develop a drug which can then stop this process at a cellular level. While researchers feel that much more research needs to be done, this is the first step in creating more effective and safer cancer treatment options for our furry family members.

This blog post is brought to you by the SLVS team. If you have a suggestion for a future post, please leave it in the comments section below…

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