Why Canines-N-Kids Exists

Veterinarian Dr. Cheryl London, and canine cancer patients like Zoe, team up with kids cancer doctor Dr. Katie Janeway in the field of comparative oncology. They are collaborating to find a cure for osteosarcoma in both kids and dogs - CBS NEWS

Dogs and Kids Share a Special Connection

The bond between humans (especially kids) and our beloved canine companions is the stuff of great love stories…  they fill our hearts with unconditional, selfless love - they protect, they guide and assist, they comfort, they hear a child’s secrets and don’t judge.

Dogs play with us in our yards, sleep and live in our homes, breathe the same air and eat many of the same foods. They are exposed to the same complex biological, nutritional  and environmental factors that can affect our health.  In fact, the genome of the dog is 84% similar to that of people. Not surprisingly, we develop many of the same diseases, including cancer.

Did you know?

There are several cancers that develop spontaneously both in dogs and kids including

  • bone cancer
  • certain brain/central nervous system cancers (e.g. glioma, glioblastoma)
  • lymph and blood cancers

And these are often different from cancers in adult humans. How these cancers develop, “behave” and progress, and even the side effects kids and canines experience from treatment, are very similar.

 

child in hospital bed with dog

 

Dogs — Kids’ Best Friend, Even in the Battle Against Cancer

In an incredible - but not all too surprising twist of fate, veterinary oncologists are uncovering that  treating cancer in man’s best friend holds great promise not only to help dogs, but also for helping kids with cancer.:

  • Canine tumors share important similarities with human cancers, including biology, genetics, recurrence, and metastasis.

  • Cancers in dogs develop in the presence of a functioning immune system, just as in humans,

  • A dog’s size provides a better model for evaluating the dosing and effects of new cancer medicines in pediatric cancer patients.

Patients Helping Patients 

Dogs have a higher incidence of cancer than humans/kids overall. Some pediatric cancers are rare and therefore difficult to study, but are much more common in canines. For example, osteosarcoma strikes about 10,000 dogs in the US a year, but is an orphan disease in kids (about 400 cases/year). Treating and studying canine patients with this disease will help bring new, humane treatments to them, while also helping doctors learn more about this devastating cancer for the benefit of kids with osteosarcoma.

These two incredible and precious patient populations may be best suited to help one another to find a better bath forward, and one day put an end to cancer!


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