Cross species cancer research on the rise

    In recent trials at Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine, scientists study cancer treatments in dogs that are also designed to help humans.

    While animal research has been widely used to help treat and cure many diseases, an increasing number of tests are being designed to specifically help multiple species, reports


    “Right now, the vast majority of cancer treatments that work in mice fail in people, said immunologist Carl June, director of translational research at Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center. By testing the treatments in dogs, he said, veterinarians are helping to sort out potential winners.”

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    This case in particular is focusing on osteosarcoma, a cancer that is relatively common in larger breed dogs. Sasha, a 12-year-old dog who has already had her front leg amputated as a result of bone cancer is the test subject. Scientists have injected a modified listeria bacteria into her bloodstream in hopes that it will help her immune system to kill the cancer cells that remain in her body.

    If successful, the next stage will be to test on a human subject.

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