How Dogs Are Helping Oncology Research

The symbiotic relationship between dogs and humans spans thousands of years. According to the Smithsonian, dogs were the first domesticated animal and likely have been kept as pets for more than ten thousand years. Today, it’s reported that Americans own more than 78 million dogs.

We share many good times with our beloved pets; however, we also share a common enemy: cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, around one in three people develop cancer during their lifetimes. Similarly, the Veterinary Cancer Society reports about one in four dogs also develop cancer at some point in their life.

There are striking similarities between human and canine cancer. So much so that the National Cancer Institute created a Comparative Oncology Program with clinical trials and funding set aside to study how cancer in dogs can be used to study cancer in humans. Numerous other researchers are also delving into this possibility that the answer to cancer may be walking beside us.

These researchers will need to utilize all tools at their disposal to facilitate research and development of potentially life-saving treatments for people and dogs alike. Additionally, cutting-edge technology now provides greater speed and flexibility to any innovative medical researcher striving towards the goal of improving public health.


Innovations through Comparative Oncology Research

Comparative oncology studies the similarities between human and animal cancers. While comparative medicine isn’t anything new, researchers are only now beginning to conduct more rigorous clinical trials with dogs. Genetically, humans and dogs are 95% identical, and this leads to similarities in the way both species experience breast cancer, prostate cancer, and melanoma. Researchers at UC Davis have already gained several key insights by working with dogs, testing novel therapies, and achieving greater clarity on how to direct future research.

Clinical trials run by the Comparative Oncology Program provide dogs with access to the latest cancer treatments. While a clinical trial may not always provide direct benefits to a dog, owners gain the knowledge that they are helping to develop better treatments and diagnostic strategies for both dogs and people.


The Power of Technology

The increased investigation into the overlap between canine and human cancer raises the stakes when it comes to eClinical vendor selection. It means that finding a flexible EDC system that can be tailored to the needs of an individual industry may benefit more than just that industry – it could also facilitate breakthroughs in other research areas. An EDC that comes with multiple-subject data entry, bulk upload, and other features critical to animal health could not only help animal health clinical trials reduce timelines and costs – it may help researchers accelerate discoveries that reverberate into the human health sector as well.

In other words, an EDC today can offer the benefits users across all industries rely on – fast study setup, easy mid-study changes, more reliable and translatable data – but it’s now clear that if it also has the flexibility to offer specific industries what they need in order to achieve success, the possibilities can extend to clinical research at large.

And isn’t that the ultimate goal of clinical research? Regardless of the type of study, the focus is to develop new treatments, therapies, and products that will help populations in need. It’s an exciting moment for all clinical researchers as the potential for new breakthroughs continues to expand with the help of intelligent and flexible new tools.

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