Arlene Weintraub takes us on a behind the scenes look of the world of comparative oncology research and the many benefits cancer drug therapies have gained by exploring how delivery systems and side effects manifested and are treated in both humans and canines. Melanoma, lymphoma and osteosarcomas, to name a few, have all been detected and treated in dogs and humans for decades and because both share 85% of their DNA, they are the best pair of candidates to test cancer therapies and drug delivery methods. Both have deep feelings that can be interpreted by their caregivers, adding a dimension to the quality of life care diagnosis and protocols that is unattainable through mice trials. By noticing changes in mood and behavior, veterinarians and doctors can adjust dosage of medication to ensure their patients are comfortable during treatment and in the least amount of discomfort and pain as possible.
The author begins her reporting by talking about the Palladia trials to cure mast cell tumors. From there we are taken through the trials for many other cancer drugs and therapies including T-Cells and viral vectors. In between you get to meet the brave owners and pets that participated in the drug trials. Successes and failures are made public to support the main argument of the book: every participant made a dent and contributed to the advancement of science. All the knowledge learned helped shape future therapies and drugs that are now available on the market to treat all types of diseases and tumors. Half way through the book, we are introduced to feline comparative oncology research and to all of the other possible methods to diagnose and cure existing cancers. Turns out that those fringe cancers are now gaining traction because big pharma is aware that curing and/or treating people and their pets is a lucrative industry.
The book wraps up by visiting the idea of cancer detection dogs and noses that could smell volatile organic compounds particular to certain cancer types and give early warning to the patient about their condition to treat it with a higher success rate. It is really interesting to note that even though it was late for a lot of our loved ones who succumbed to the disease, the strides made by working across the species is ensuring that we gain insights at a faster and safer rate. Humans’ best friends are helping them heal as they heal themselves, extending the time we can spend together even in the face of death.
Check out the trials that are available and the ways you can help promote and fund comparative oncology research in the references section. As a bonus, the publisher provides an ebook format with proof of purchase. It is an excellent reference for those whose canine friend is battling cancer too. Imagine the possibilities…