Pet Dogs May Speed Human Brain Cancer Trials

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TUESDAY, Dec. 26, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Man's best friend may help scientists learn more about a deadly brain cancer in people.

Both dogs and humans can develop glioblastoma. Half of people diagnosed with this type of brain cancer live fewer than 14 months, even after treatment with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

Sen. John McCain is being treated for glioblastoma and Sen. Ted Kennedy died from the disease in 2009.

Dogs currently have few treatment options for the cancer. Typically, they are euthanized shortly after diagnosis.

A new five-year research project at the University of Minnesota will include pet dogs with glioblastoma. The goal is to find ways to improve treatment of dogs with this type of cancer, said Dr. Liz Pluhar, a professor of veterinary surgery, and her colleagues.

That could lead to new information about glioblastoma that could prove useful in human clinical trials, according to the researchers.

Previously, this team experimented with vaccines made from a dog's own tumor cells and with gene therapy. While both approaches prolonged survival for many dogs, the cancer eventually returned.

This new project will include at least 30 pet dogs with glioblastoma. It seeks to increase understanding of the disease and improve the effectiveness of vaccination and gene therapy.

More information

Your dog might be eligible for the University of Minnesota's brain tumor clinical trials program.

SOURCE: University of Minnesota, news release, Dec. 11

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