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Man's Best Friend May Open Door to Understanding Fibrotic Lung Disease in Human and Animal Populations
Date:10/16/2007

gnificant risk for the disease.

"We are certainly encouraged about the opportunity this type of comparative research presents," said Jesse Roman, M.D., a human fibrotic lung disease expert from Emory University Medical Center who attended the meeting. "It is known that dog physiology is similar to human physiology and this combined effort may provide findings that will be important to both bodies of knowledge."

The disease in Westies and some other breeds of dog appears to be very similar to the disease that claims 40,000 human lives each year in the U.S., the same number as breast cancer. The main symptoms of the disease, including shortness of breath and a dry cough, also seem to be consistent between humans and dogs. There is no known cause, no approved treatment and no cure for either the human or animal strains of the disease.

Because dogs age at a rate that is believed to be about seven times that of the human rate of aging, and fibrotic lung disease tends to be most common later in life, participating scientists are optimistic that the opportunity to study canine pulmonary fibrosis may provide a new approach that will lead to the discovery of treatments for both humans and animals. At the same time, veterinarians are excited about the opportunity to learn from human research to better diagnose and treat the dogs that are dying from fibrotic lung disease.

"There is no question we in veterinary medicine can learn from our colleagues in human medicine. Their understanding of fibrotic lung disease is much more developed than what we know about the canine disease," said Kurt Williams, DVM, PhD, DACVP, Assistant Professor of Pathobiology and Diagnostic Investigation from Michigan State University, who also attended the meeting. "We believe that researching this disease in animals may move the field forward at a much faster pace than is possible in human medicine."

"We support unique collaborations like this that can help improve u
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SOURCE Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis
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