(p. D4) Dogs are a better natural model for some human diseases than mice or even primates because they live with people, Dr. Karlsson says. “Compared to lab mice, with dogs they’re getting diseases within their natural life span, they’re exposed to the same pollutants in the environment” as humans, she says.
Previous canine studies conducted by other scientists have shed light on human diseases like osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer, as well as the sleep disorder narcolepsy and a neurological condition, epilepsy.
With osteosarcoma, the most common type of bone cancer in children and one that frequently strikes certain dog breeds, researchers have discovered that tumors in dogs and children are virtually indistinguishable. The tumors share similarities in their location, development of chemotherapy-resistant growths and altered functioning of certain proteins, making dogs a good animal model of the disease. Collecting more specimens from dogs could lead to progress in identifying tumor targets and new cancer drugs in dogs as well as in children, some scientists say.
For the full story, see:
SHIRLEY S. WANG. “IN THE LAB; How Dogs’ Genes Can Help Humans.” The Wall Street Journal (Thurs., Dec. 3, 2015): D4.
(Note: the online version of the story has the date Dec. 2, 2015, and has the title “IN THE LAB; Why Dogs Are Some Scientists’ New Best Friends.”)
A paper showing how cancer research on dogs can help humans, is:
Fenger, Joelle M., Cheryl A. London, and William C. Kisseberth. “Canine Osteosarcoma: A Naturally Occurring Disease to Inform Pediatric Oncology.” ILAR Journal 55, no. 1 (2014): 69-85.