Breast Cancer in Dogs Has Shaped Gyneologic Treatment Before And Is Doing So Again

Years ago the study of breast cancer rates in beagles let researchers to conclude that the progesterone medroxyprogesterone should never be put in oral contraceptives. As a result, it has emerged as an injectable contraceptive but has never been a component of oral contraceptive pills. Most subsequent studies found beagles were excessively susceptible to breast cancer and that this work unfairly biased the physicians against this medication. Now a National Cancer Center research group has discovered that dogs and humans have a lot of similarities to the biology of their breast cancers, and that studying cancers in dogs can help solve remaining questions about treatment in humans.  In what seems obvious dogs are an ideal model to study as they have on the average 10 breasts instead of the human mere 2. The researchers realized that there are cancers in various stages in each of the breasts, making a breast cancer dog patient her own best laboratory of the progression of her disease. The new work is looking for how and when certain genes turn on and off as the cancer spreads. They hope to use this information to plan treatments. The original dog cancer work was done over 50 years, however revisiting this topic has revolutionized the field.

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