BANGOR – Officials from Jackson Laboratory have been using out of the box strategies to combat a form of brain cancer.
By studying the brains of dogs that died from a certain form of brain cancer, researchers are hoping to cure the cancer in both dogs and humans alike.
Professor Roel Verhakk and his team have been studying and looking for connections between deadly brain tumors called glioma in dogs and in humans.
“So what we did in this particular study was to compare brain cancer between adults, kids and dogs to understand what are the commonalities that drive this disease. So we may think about therapies that target these commonalities,” Verhaak said.
He said he and his team obtained tumor samples from 83 different deceased dogs for intense cellular examination
According to Verhaak, the reason for this is due to glioma being very difficult to treat because it’s in the brain, making regular chemo and radiation therapy less effective to defeat the lethal cancer.
“Most drug companies when they develop therapies for cancer, they try to design them as such that these drugs don’t get into the brain, to avoid negative effects on patient functioning. Of course, that’s to the detriment of brain cancer patients where you explicitly want the drug to get into the brain,” Verhaak said.
He also said the study’s results show there are genetic similarities between the brain cancer in dogs and humans, so going forward finding effective treatments for dogs could one day lead to effective treatments for humans.
“Hopefully we can start clinical trial testing maybe in five years and if all of that goes well and shows promise then maybe we’ll see some therapies coming out, maybe in the next decade or so,” Verhaak said.