Bladder Cancer Briefs March 29, 2023

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60 Minutes: How Dogs Help Humans Understand Cancer

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Some four million dogs in the US are diagnosed with cancer every year. Our canine companions share many of the same genes with humans and often develop the same types of cancer. This presents an opportunity for scientists to study naturally developing cancers in dogs and use their findings to speed up potential treatments for both dogs and humans. This field of study is called comparative oncology.

The National Institutes of Health have been leading the way in this field, collecting DNA samples from various dog breeds for nearly 30 years, totaling 40,000 samples so far. They carry out some of their research at dog shows, which may seem like an odd place but is where they can find a wide range of breeds. The team is headed by Elaine Ostrander, a senior geneticist at the NIH.

Researchers have also discovered that some physical traits in dogs, such as ear position, hold clues about human health. Cancer research in dogs is promising as certain breeds are more likely to get certain types of cancer, making it easier for researchers to locate the genes responsible.

Resources for Patients and Families

BCAN is committed to the advancement of bladder cancer research to help save lives. Over the years BCAN has funded millions of dollars in bladder cancer research grants.

In case you missed it take a listen to the Bladder Cancer Matters podcast episode on BCAN’s role in bladder cancer research.