Thanks to Animal Research, Experimental Cancer Treatment Cures Dog

While animal rights groups have squarely targeted the use of canines in research, a May 16 article in the Boston Globe serves as a reminder of similarities between dogs and humans. Man’s best friend shares the same environment as their human counterparts and therefore suffers many of the same ailments and health challenges. That connection could be the key to unlocking treatments and cures for both species.

Consider the story of Drambuie, a golden retriever who was diagnosed with a sarcoma, a type of cancerous tumor which attacks soft tissues. Drambuie’s prognosis was not good, so his owner enrolled him in a clinical trial for a new sarcoma treatment at Tuft’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Cheryl London, a veterinary oncologist, has been testing a new form of immunotherapy, injecting a piece of DNA that allows the dog’s own immune system to destroy the sarcoma.

About one month after the injection, a surgery was scheduled to remove the shrunken tumor from Drambuie, yet none could be found. The immunotherapy had eliminated the tumor.

These types of clinical trials in canines are helping researchers develop the next generation of cancer treatments for humans, proving yet again animal research advances medicine for our furry companions, as well as us.