Finding a cure for a rare form of brain cancer in dogs can be the key to treating people, study suggests
Brain cancer treatment for DOGS may offer hope for people with the rare, aggressive tumor that killed John McCain, study suggests
- Researchers compared glioblastoma samples from dog patients and both adult and pediatric patients
- The rare, aggressive form of brain cancer has a five-year survival rate of just 5%
- Similarities were observed in the gene mutations of the cancer and changes in the number of chromosomes in the dog samples and human samples
- The cancer cells in dogs were more similar to those in children than in adults, which may mean that dogs develop tumors around the same age as children
- Scientists believe that the use of immunotherapy to treat dogs can make it a more effective treatment for people
Man’s best friend is perhaps the key to treating a rare form of human brain cancer, scientists now believe.
Researchers at Jackson Laboratories in Bar Harbor, Maine believe that an immunotherapy that is often used to treat dogs with glioblastoma can lead to more effective treatments for the same deadly brain cancer in humans.
Glioblastoma is an aggressive brain tumor with a five-year survival rate of just five percent, in part because they are usually inoperable.
The cancer is usually treated with chemotherapy, but often it only buys patients a limited amount of time and the tumors often come back and caused the death of US senator John McCain.
But now scientists have discovered clear similarities between glioblastoma samples from dogs and from adult and child-human patients.
The shared gene mutations and other traits between animal and human samples suggest the scientists that the treatment that has helped dogs beat the cancer could do the same for their masters.
A new study by Jackson Laboratories in Bar Harbor, Maine, has shown that glioblastoma samples from dog patients were similar to the same tumors found in adults and children with cancer (file image)
Gliobastoma is a rare, aggressive type of brain tumor found in the brain or spinal cord.
It is the same type of tumor that led to the death of Senator John McCain and Beau Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden.
The tumors form from star-shaped cells in the brain known as astrocytes and provide their own blood supply, allowing them to grow quickly.
Symptoms include constant painful headache, vomiting, seizures, double vision, and trouble talking.
According to the American Brain Tumor Association, around 14,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.
Treatment options to slow and control tumor growth include surgery (if possible), chemotherapy, and radiation – but the cancer usually comes back.
The tumors are grade IV, the most deadly form, and the five-year survival rate is only five percent.
Adult dogs develop these aggressive brain tumors at the same pace as humans and are just as difficult to treat.
In addition, previous Investigation has discovered that dogs develop these cancers around the same age as children, suggesting that tumor development may be related to the age of the brain.
For the new study, published in the journal Cancer Cell, the team looked at tumor samples from 83 deceased dogs.
They conducted a molecular study and compared their results with the brain tumors of adult and child patients who had also died.
Researchers noted similarities, including gene mutations and fluctuations in the number of chromosomes in dog samples and human samples.
Another finding: glioma cells in dogs were more similar to those in children than in adults, showing that dogs develop the disease around the same age as children.
The results also showed that the dog’s immune responses to brain tumors were similar to the immunological responses that occur in human bodies.
The authors believe that this means that the use of immunotherapy to treat dogs can offer ways to make it more effective in human patients.