Cancer prevention is a relatively new concept within the medical and veterinary research community, with emphasis predominantly on treatment. However, this month the Gerald P. Murphy Cancer Foundation in the USA has announced the launch of a major cancer prevention trial in pet dogs. The study, funded by Procter & Gamble Pet Care, will enroll 700 Rottweiler dogs to find out if supplementation with dietary antioxidants can reduce the incidence of bone cancer, a disease the breed is predisposed to.
Healthy dogs, 5 to 6 years of age, will be randomly split into supplement or placebo groups and followed for up to eight years. As well as bone cancer incidence, the study will also look at overall cancer incidence and longevity. It is hoped that the study will also benefit research into human cancer prevention; the Murphy Foundation is a leader in comparative oncology research that benefits both humans and animals. The emerging discipline of comparative oncology was recently highlighted in an article titled "Cancer Clues from Pet Dogs" by David Waters and Kathleen Wildasin in Scientific American.
As the world’s first cancer prevention study benefiting pet dogs and humans, this new trial is part of a larger research and education initiative of the Murphy Foundation known as 2 Steps Ahead™. As part of 2 Steps Ahead™, the Murphy Foundation is also participating in SELECT, the largest human prostate cancer prevention trial ever conducted. SELECT is a 12-year study funded by the National Cancer Institute that is currently testing whether daily supplementation with two antioxidant nutrients (vitamin E and selenium) can reduce prostate cancer risk.
Oncology is a major and growing area of veterinary research. Subscribers to VetMed Resource can retrieve more than 10,000 abstracts on cancer of dogs alone (search for ‘neoplasms and dogs’) and almost 200 full text papers.