Cancer in pets could 'lead the way for human cancer treatments'

29 September 2011

New research suggests that findings related to cat cancer could influence cancer treatment for humans.

A study by researchers at the University of Missouri found that environmental factors causing cancer in humans could be tracked and lead to potential breakthroughs in how to prevent or treat cancer in humans.

Mentored by Kim Selting, associate teaching professor of oncology at the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, the researchers examined 1,129 cases covering 47 years of intestinal cancer in cats. They found that most intestinal cancers were lymphoma and also that most cancers were found in the small intestines. Siamese cats are more prone to getting this type of cancer, the research shows.

Ms Selting said that tracking animal cancer is important because animals share the same environment as humans. She added that by noting patterns of cancer development, doctors and veterinarians may become aware of factors that could be causing tumours in species including humans.

"Dogs are really the only species, other than humans, that develop the toughest type of prostate cancers. If a treatment develops that can help with prostate cancer, we can test it on dogs and find results faster," she added.

The treatment of cancer in dogs utilises many of the same methods available in human medicine, according to caninecancer.com.

Posted by Philip Briggs.

Risotto, K., et al., "Recent Trends in Feline Intestinal Neoplasia: An Epidemiologic Study of 1,129 Cases in the Veterinary Medical Database from 1964 to 2004", Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association, September 28th 2011.


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