Dogs are often called man’s best friend. In this case, dogs are helping humans more than you might think! Dogs can be a great model for understanding cancer, because they develop cancer spontaneously, and in this case, cocker spaniels may be able to help researchers better understand human breast cancer.
Recently, the epigenome of the cocker spaniel has been characterized. Researchers compared dog and human epigenetic changes, and found that when looking at breast cancer, the same regions of DNA are affected in dogs and humans.
So, why is this important? Discovering common mechanisms can help both humans and dogs in future research studies. It’s possible that targeting these epigenetic changes could help slow disease progression, and dogs may be able to help us understand this faster. And ultimately, understanding more about the connection between canine and human cancer will benefit both species.
Read more about this research here: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-10/ibri-deg100214.php
A trial at the University of Pennsylvania’s school of veterinary medicine is introducing a groundbreaking treatment for dogs suffering from osteosarcoma. Dogs in the trial are receiving an experimental vaccine that trains the immune system to recognize tumor cells and to kill them- and it’s working!
More than 10,000 dogs are diagnosed each year with osteosarcoma, which is an aggressive type of bone cancer. Most dogs die within a year of diagnosis, but in this trial, many of the dogs in the study have survived for more than two years. Check out this video to see an update on Denali, a therapy dog enrolled in the trial.
The biology of canine osteosarcoma is the same as the biology of these tumors in children, so the information gained from this study could one day help children with osteosarcoma. There are also types of breast cancer that have similarities to osteosarcoma, so the human benefits aren’t limited to one type of cancer.
Researchers are looking for more dogs with osteosarcoma to participate in this trial. Does your dog qualify? If so, check out the link here for more information.
As humans, we use ‘voice areas’ in our brains to recognize who is talking and determine the speaker’s emotion. The question: Do dogs process voices in the same way? Are dogs in tune to their owners’ emotions? The dog is often referred to as ‘man’s best friend.’ And new research is proving just how right that is!
It turns out that dogs also have dedicated ‘voice areas’ in their brains- and they’re in the same location as a human’s voice area. In a study looking at how dogs process different sounds, researchers in Hungary trained dogs (golden retrievers and border collies) to lie still in an MRI machine during brain scans while listening to dog and human sounds.
The study found that both humans and dogs were able to read the emotions of the other species correctly, and both responded to the emotions of the other species in similar ways.
What does this mean? Maybe the dog is man’s best friend because he really GETS us. If you own a dog, you’ve probably experienced this before. And now, when you think your dog is recognizing that you’re happy or sad, you can rest assured that you’re probably right!