Dogs Aid in the Fight Against Breast Cancer

Man’s best friend may also prove to be researchers’ best friend in the fight to cure breast cancer in both species. 

The University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine offers a unique program that seeks to  match sick shelter dogs with humans willing to care for them while they undergo treatment for breast cancer. Shelter dogs are used in the trials because only 10-percent of animals are spayed or neutered when they arrive at shelters, and dogs that have not been spayed are many times more likely to develop mammary tumors.

“Dogs with mammary gland tumors who live in shelters really belong to the most vulnerable population,”  said Dr. Karin Sorenmo, an oncologist at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School of Medicine.

Because dogs have five pairs of mammary glands, it is not uncommon for them to have tumors in various stages, making for more thorough research data. “So, if we can figure out what happens when a tumor becomes malignant, what are the most important genetic alterations, maybe there will be a target that can be drugged,” Dr. Sorenmo said.

That could potentially stop the spread of the cancer cells – in humans and in dogs.

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12 comments

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    March 19, 2011 11:09 amPosted 3 years ago
    Jennifer

    That is AWESOME! I adopted a medically demanding senior dog when I was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. He was a beautiful soul who I adored. You need somebody else to focus on when you are going through something like that. Sharing.

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    March 19, 2011 11:15 amPosted 3 years ago
    Heather

    OMG! The first little poodle, Kali, looks like Bitsy Bob’s doppelganger!

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    March 19, 2011 11:20 amPosted 3 years ago
    Heather

    When my beagle/basset, Clare, got a spinal cord injury from being hit by a car, the vet told Mom that she would need a wheelchair (K9 Cart), & that most people would put a dog like that “to sleep”, to which Mom retorted, “Well, we kept Heather!” <;-)

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    March 19, 2011 11:31 amPosted 3 years ago
    Ranger

    Flordia school of vets just released 4 dogs that they have been experimenting on.

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    March 19, 2011 11:37 amPosted 3 years ago
    Lian

    Animals save us.

    Reply
  • March 19, 2011 12:48 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Shelley

    Excellent, I am sharing this one!

    Reply
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    March 19, 2011 1:12 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Denise

    our animals are true miracles~<3 shared

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  • March 19, 2011 1:49 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Donna

    Excellent idea. They can lean on each other!

    Reply
  • March 19, 2011 2:20 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Lisa

    What a great idea! Some (not all) people become so absorbed in self-pity, that taking care of a pet could be just the ticket. It’s been proven that people who have an upbeat attitude and a reason to live do better fighting illness.

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    March 19, 2011 3:15 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Nancy

    very very cool!!!

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  • March 19, 2011 5:41 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Reg

    @Lisa, it’s the dogs that are ill with breast cancer, not the humans. It would be very nice to think that humans would care for these dogs and perhaps adopt them.

    Reply
  • March 19, 2011 8:11 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Marge

    the woman in this had cancer twice, they are putting cancer pts with dogs that have cancer thats what i got from the report.i think its great

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