The bond between children and dogs has always been something to celebrate, and a team of doctors and scientists is hoping to use that connection to save thousands of lives.
Research shows there may be a connection between the kind of cancer found in dogs and cancer that affects children.
NBC Washington talked to veterinary oncologist Dr. Chand Kanna about his research linking cancers that affect both dogs and children. He said,
“So if you take a human osteosarcoma, which is bone cancer, and you look at that under the microscope, the pathologist can’t tell you if it’s human or dog.”
The disease seems to attack the body in the same way whether its victim is human or canine. Scientists hope to use that knowledge to further their research and find better treatment options.
According to the American Childhood Cancer Organization, there are few options for children diagnosed with osteosarcoma. It’s one of the most common types of bone cancer found in children, and yet the only viable treatment hasn’t been updated since 1979. Surgery and multi-agent chemotherapy is used to combat the cancerous cells, but only 60% of children with osteosarcoma win their battle against this common cancer.
For dogs, the facts aren’t any better. Osteosarcoma is the most common primary bone tumor found in dogs, and once diagnosed, most dogs are given only six months to two years to live. It’s these devastating numbers that prompted researchers, doctors, and veterinarians to dig deeper into the commonalities found between cancers in children and in canines.
Their hope is that if they find a better treatment for dogs, they can then transition that method to children, and vice versa. Leading the pack in this quest to fight cancer is Canines-N-Kids Foundation. Established last year, the organization is focused on using comparative oncology to create a real win-win situation for dogs and kids. They’re concerned with the lack of investment being made to cure canine cancers, and they want to raise awareness about the issue.
Osteosarcoma is one of the cancers they fund research for, but it’s not the only disease with a proven link between kids and canines. Glioblastoma, leukemia, and certain brain cancers also develop spontaneously in both dogs and children, and the diseases show similar progression and side effects regardless of species. Canines-N-Kids Foundations is looking for new, effective, and humane treatments to save the lives of dogs and the children who love them.