Dr. Cheryl London

Dr. Cheryl London

Approximately 400 inherited disorders are found in domestic dogs, most are also found in people, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes and arthritis. And certain cancers in dogs, like canine osteosarcoma, are very similar to human cancers in the way they develop and how they respond to treatment.

Dogs age five to eight times faster than people. They share environments with their owners, are usually given good health care, and are kept into old age. So using dogs to study naturally occurring cancers and translational medicine is the perfect answer to the void in animal research models.

This potential has been recognized by forward looking investigators and it may well give some lucky dogs (pardon the expression) a leg up!

“A clinical trial in children with bone cancer can take five years to accrue enough patients, and then another five years for outcomes. So, you have 10 years before you know something new, which is why the field moves so slowly,” says Dr. Cheryl London, comparative oncologist and associate professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Ohio State. “In veterinary oncology, we can complete a study in dogs with bone cancer within one year and have outcomes within two to three years.”

While osteosarcoma is common in dogs, it occurs infrequently in people, and is exceptionally devastating for children. So it can be win-win for humans and their best friends. Dogs and their owners have access to advanced, state-of-the art care at little to no cost in clinical trials in a veterinary setting, while critical information about the disease process and response to therapy is gained that can be used to advance treatment of human disease.

Dr. London’s research uses canine osteosarcoma tissue samples and cell lines. Testing new therapies in dogs with osteosarcoma helps to inform researchers which therapies may be more likely to be effective in human patients. This venue bumps up the research process and cuts the likelihood of treatment failures in human clinical trials.

The approach is showing remarkable progress with osteosarcoma, says London.

London is among a small group of veterinary oncologists in the United States who have been funded to conduct research with dogs to advance and accelerate cancer research in humans. She led the initial research effort in dogs with tumors, evaluating toceranib, a new small molecule inhibitor. Results from this clinical trial supported the subsequent development of sunitinib, a similar drug for humans with cancer. Toceranib, marketed as Palladia, became the first drug approved by the FDA specifically to treat cancer in dogs in 2009.

 

 

For more information on London’s work, please contact Melissa Weber at 614-292-3752 or weber.254@osu.edu

Filed under: Canine Osteosarcoma Mainstream Research

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