A team of scientists from the University of Minnesota has discovered a gene pattern that distinguishes the more severe form of bone cancer from a less aggressive one in dogs.
Man’s best friend is the only other species besides humans that develops this disease spontaneously with any frequency.
In fact, dogs are much more likely to develop bone cancer than humans, but according to lead author Dr. Jaime Modiano, a College of veterinary medicine expert in comparative medicine, human and canine forms of bone cancer are very similar and the gene pattern is an exact match.
The discovery of this key differentiating signature may be beneficial in the treatment planning of human bone cancer patients.
“Our findings pave the way to develop laboratory tests that can predict the behavior of this tumor in dogs and children at the time of diagnosis,” said Modiano. “This allows us to tailor individualized therapy to meet the patient’s needs.”
Researchers hope to use their findings to develop practical and useful lab tests for humans and for companion animals that will help clinical care providers determine the type of cancer a patient faces, and how aggressive that cancer may be.
The study will be published in the journal Bone.