Dogs help in breast cancer research for humans

Cancer of the mammary glands in dogs is the same to human breast carcinoma. This is the reason, treatment methods from people medicine are frequently used for dogs. Contrarily, scientific knowledge derived from canine mammary tumors may as well be vital to human medicine. Researchers were able to show how similar these tumors are in both dogs and humans.

Cancer is among the most frequent ailments not only in human but in pets too. Like in human, puppies can as well experience cancer of the mammary organs. Pooch mammary tumors are the same as breast carcinoma in people, thus, Study on dog mammary tumors is essential for human medication also. A research conducted at the University of Zurich has now proved how comparable mammary tumors are in the both humans and dogs.

According to the report, Cancerous cells are capable to reprogram healthy cells; for the progression of a carcinoma and the development of tumors, the cancer cells are not only decisive in nature, but the cells surrounding the tumor also play a major role in this. Numerous tumors have the ability to reconstruct healthy cells in the tumor environment in a way that they begin to help the development of the cancerous cells. This mechanism plays an essential part in human breast carcinoma. The similarity of breast carcinoma in puppies and people has been known for quite a while. "But whether these tumor cells also impact the surrounding tissue in dogs the similar way they do in people was obscure up to this point," explain Enni Markkanen of the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology of the Vetsuisse Faculty of the University of Zurich.

Researchers examined the surrounding tissue of dog mammary tumors making use of molecular biology and immunohistological techniques. To do this, they access the tissue archive of the Institute of Veterinary Pathology situated at the Animal Hospital. "With the consent of our patient's owners, we conduct pathological tests to better comprehend the ailments," says animal pathologist Alexandra Malbon. "In the process, we document samples of different organs and tissues as these examples can be of great value to answer future research questions."

In the documented samples of mammary tumors from puppy patients, Enni Markkanen and her group were able to confirm that a few cells in the region of tumors behave the same way as  the corresponding cells in people: In the healthy tissue surrounding the tumor, substances are produced that advanced tumor development. "the tumor enslaves its environment: It drives the surrounding cells to work to its advantage," Markkanen adds. This mechanism works the same for both people and pooches. For a study on breast carcinoma, tumor tissue of dogs is, therefore, among other reasons, much better suitable over tissue from rats or cells developed in the lab. "Significantly, however, we don't see our canine patients as a test subject for cancer research," Markkanen says. "Yet, they can help us to better understand breast carcinoma in both dogs and people and battle it more effectively."

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