CBS NEWS March 12, 2017, 9:51 AM
On The Horizon: How dogs may help fight bone cancer
A multitude of potential advances are ON THE HORIZON in the field of cancer research, as reported by Susan Spencer:
Meet Zoe. She’s eight years old, full of heart, and these days, does pretty well on only three legs. Yeah, that’s a good girl!
Veterinarians, and dogs like Zoe, team up with cancer doctors in the field of comparative oncology to find a cure for osteosarcoma.
Doctors had to amputate one of Zoe’s front legs last fall when she was diagnosed with life-threatening bone cancer.
“Dogs get cancer,” said Dr. Cheryl London. “It’s the most common reason for a dog to die.”
Today Zoe and fellow Great Dane Murphy are part of a new study which may help people as much as their dogs.
It’s the pet project of veterinarian Cheryl London, a research professor at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, and Dr. Katie Janeway, at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer Center.
“We are trying to understand cancers in dogs and develop new treatments, and then apply those to humans,” Dr. London said.
This growing field is called comparative oncology -- veterinarians teaming up with cancer doctors to find a cure.
“It puts the whole idea of dog being man’s best friend in a completely new light!” said Spencer.
“Nobody would think of them as volunteers in a clinical trial of a new drug that could someday save your life.”
And may save theirs.
Oncologist Janeway treats the same type of bone cancer in children that London treats in dogs: Osteosarcoma.
“It’s been three or four decades since we’ve had a new approach in osteosarcoma that’s worked,” Dr. Janeway said.
“How is this any better than using the traditional model, of the mouse in the lab?” asked Spencer.
“Mice don’t have an immune history like you and I do,” Dr. London replied. “Because they’re kept in cages, and they’re isolated. Dogs get exposed to many different antigens.”
And osteosarcoma, in kids and dogs, is astonishingly similar.
And the ultimate goal here? “Very promising new drugs for osteosarcoma,” said Dr. Janeway.
With any luck, a new drug might even come in Zoe’s lifetime. If not, well, it’ll still have her paw prints all over it.
I ran across this humorous question/answer exchange and couldn't help but share it.
I've noticed that many of our canine friends seem to walk, um, well, sort of sideways. It's like their hind legs are going faster than the front ones and are catching up. Usually it's the rear legs that are to the right of the front ones, but sometimes it's the other way around. And it doesn't seem to depend on which side of the woofer the human companion is walking. I've seen this on all sorts of breeds and sizes of our pawed pals. What gives?
Very odd phenomenon, watching a dog that looks like he needs a back-end alignment. And very hard to find a vet who will admit to knowing what we're taking about. But in our own irritating way, we kept at it until one of them finally gave up the info. Did you know that your dog has dominant and nondominant sides, ergo, dominant and nondominant legs? That if he could use a pencil or a spoon or a pistol or toilet paper, he'd favor one paw over the other? How'bout that. Anyway, the odd butt drift comes because the stronger, dominant leg pushes off harder when the dog runs. To use this power efficiently, the strong leg gradually moves into the midline position, between the front legs, as the dog builds up a head of steam. You see it most when Rover's moving at a fast trot or a loping gait. When he's at a dead run heading for the mailman, it's not so obvious.
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