I flew to Dallas yesterday to cover the International Myeloma Foundation’s(IMF) annual Support Group Leader’s Summit.

Always working, I read an interesting article in the Tampa Bay Times on my flight about an experimental immunotherapy study on dogs with osteosarcoma.

Apparently osteosarcoma is found in both dogs and humans.  And I learned it is common in larger dogs, making it easy to study.

But the interesting part of all this is the immunotherapy aspect.  Dogs are treated with a safe, modified form of listeria bacteria – a common type of food poison in humans – in an attempt to provoke an immune response that kills rouge cancer cells which often remain after surgery.

Similar human trials are already underway in cervical cancer patients and looks promising.  Doctors at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine believe this type of immunotherapy will work against osteosarcoma in both dogs and humans, along with several other types of cancer, too.

Vet immunologist Nicola Mason explained how it works.  “The idea is to train the patient’s immune system to attack cancer cells at the same time they go after the listeria bacteria.”

I found it fascinating that researchers see some “striking similarities in the genetics and biology of dog and human cancers.” And I didn’t know that “No other large animals routinely get cancer the way dogs and humans do.”

As long as the dogs aren’t used like lab rats or Guinea pigs in these studies, I’m all for it!  Dogs are already benefiting from treatment.  We could be next!

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat

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