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U discovery could help humans and dogs with bone cancer

Humans and canines may benefit from a recent University of Minnesota discovery that can help predict the aggressiveness of bone cancer.

A team led by Jaime Modiano, V.M.D., Ph.D., a College of Veterinary Medicineand Masonic Cancer Center expert in comparative medicine, discovered a gene pattern in dogs that distinguishes a more severe form of bone cancer from a less aggressive type.

Human and canine forms of bone cancer are very similar, and the gene pattern is an exact match, says Modiano. That means the discovery of this key differentiating signature may help doctors select the best treatment for both dogs and humans with bone cancer.

In humans, bone cancer typically affects children, and the course and aggressiveness of the disease are often unpredictable. The new discovery may change that.

“Our findings pave the way to develop laboratory tests that can predict the behavior of this tumor in dogs and children at the time of diagnosis,” says Modiano. “This allows us to tailor individualized therapy to meet the patient’s needs.”

The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute, the AKC Canine Health Foundation, and the Kate Koogler Canine Cancer Fund. The research findings were published in the September issue of Bone.

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