"Women have become more aware and conscientious of conducting their own breast self-exams, and pet owners also are more aware to check their animals," Mohammed said. "With better diagnostic tools and early detection, we are able to give dogs the same treatment that we give humans."
Mohammed said the dogs provide a more realistic comparison to humans than the mice and rat models, in part because the tumors developed spontaneously, just as in humans. Dogs have been evaluated in a few studies, but rodent research is more common, she said.
"This is a very large, untapped resource for comparative oncology research," Mohammed said. "Unlike laboratory rodents, dogs share a common environment with people and, therefore, may be exposed to some of the same carcinogens. Also, because dogs have a shorter life span than people, it is possible to study mammary lesions and invasive tumors that develop after a few years instead of decades."
Miller, a veterinary pathologist in the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, said that mammary cancer in dogs is one of the most common forms of cancer studied at the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory.
"We already had hundreds of mammary tumor specimens archived in the diagnostic laboratory," Miller said. "It's a wonderful thing when we're able to collaborate with other departments at Purdue and Indiana University with these specimens. There's so much to be learned from these types of studies."
Tissue samples are kept indefinitely at the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory,
|Contact: Maggie Morris|