Pet Animal Models for Studying Cancer  
  “Studying dogs with cancer is likely to provide a valuable perspective that is distinct from that
  generated by the study of human or rodent cancers alone.”
  - Paoloni M., Khanna C. Translation of new cancer treatments from
   pet dogs to humans.
Nature Reviews – Cancer. 147-156 (2008)
Researchers now recognize that comparative oncology, integrating the study of naturally occurring cancers in pet animals into studies of human cancer biology and therapy, is valuable in the continuum of cancer research. At Colorado State University, we recognize there is a unique and important place for research involving cancer in companion animals. We are uniquely positioned to perform this work given our high clinical caseload of greater than 2500 new cases annually, and our diverse faculty expertise in clinical oncology and cancer research.
Pet animals are good models to study cancer because:
  • High decision and investment value of data
  • Cancers resemble humans: size, kinetics, biology
    - Cancer gene families of dogs are more similar to humans than mice
    - Similar oncogenes and tumor suppressor pathways to
    - Immune-competent, out-bred strains
    - Comparative histologies
  • Human-like treatment protocols: adjunctive therapies
  • Highly compliant patients (motivated owners)
  • Novel drug delivery vectors are feasible
Limitations of dog trials:
  • Client owned animals are research subjects
    - Timed necropsy is not an option
    - Owners accept a lower level of side effects
  • Dosing to MTD is not acceptable
  • Larger drug quantity than for mice
  • Species differences vs. human
    - Targeted therapies limitations
    - ADME
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