Clinical trials in dogs advance cancer drugs in humans. The tissue samples collected are molecularly and microscopically similar, although the dogs suffer ten times more from the disease.
Jellybean, a five-year-old Labrador retriever mix, is back with the energy she always had. His owners cannot believe in the miracle. The diagnoses had given him two months to live after a harsh metastasized cancer, a disease that affects dogs ten times more than humans. His recovery could be key to progress against the disease.
almost three years ago Jellybean was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in one of her hind legs. Despite the amputation and chemotherapy, the cancer cells spread rapidly through his blood and spread to his lungs, a scenario that occurs in about 90% of cases in dogs.
In November 2020, its owners enrolled Jellybean in a clinical trial at Tufts University, an hour away from his home in Rhode Island, United States. Jellybean received a trio of pills, free of charge, in her favorite chicken treats.
For Christmas, Jellybean’s tumors began to shrink. Since then they have not reappeared. The response surprised even veterinarians treating Jellybean and raised hope that these drugs could benefit not only other dogs, but humans as well.
Dog studies could advance cancer drugs
The osteosarcoma suffered by Jellybean also affects people, especially children and adolescents, although, fortunately, it is relatively rare: each year about 26,000 new cases are diagnosed worldwide.
The problem is that There have been no new treatments for more than 35 years and those available are not very effective. Osteosarcoma patients only have a survival rate of about 30% if the cancer cells spread to other parts of the body.
The Studies in dogs, such as the Jellybean clinical trial, could change this picture. Cancers that develop in domestic dogs are molecularly and microscopically similar to those in humans.
In the case of osteosarcoma, the similarities are striking. When examining canine and human tissue samples under the microscope, it is virtually impossible to distinguish one sample from the other. Since osteosarcoma is at least 10 times more common in dogs than in humans, research and drug testing in dogs with cancer can be very helpful.