How to Design Comparative Oncology Trials Between Pet Dogs and Humans

  • Posted on February 05, 2015 by Pharma Models Blogging Team in Oncology

While the most common animal models used in scientific research are lab rats and mice, pet dogs may also be useful animals to study. Nature Reviews mentions that dogs and humans have many similar characteristics such as tumor genetics, molecular targets, treatment responses, and even biological mannerisms. Thereby analyzing cancer in dogs and comparing findings to oncology trials can offer a beneficial viewpoint that is divergent from studying tumor development in rodents or humans alone.

The scientific community has seen the benefits of animal research in this specific area, as it allows for examining environmental risk factors, identifying cancer genes, investigating tumor development, and reviewing new cancer medications.

Tumors in dogs represent very comparable molecular factors to that of human cancers, which are not nearly as identical in other animal models. When considering preclinical models, those of canines offer the ability to answer vital questions in cancer drug development. Some of the recent scientific capabilities such as the release of the canine genome and certain biological tools for the study of the dog provide an opportunity to improve cancer drug studies.

Greater collaboration and discussion among parties interested in dog cancer research needs to take place to improve these type of preclinical studies. One conference took place in Bethesda, Maryland six years ago that discussed the value of comparing cancer drug development between canine health outcomes to human patient reactions.

The Clinical Cancer Research journal discussed the solutions and opportunities discovered at the “Translation of new cancer treatments from canine to human cancer patients” meeting. The 2008 meeting also included talks of biomarker and device development.

Pet dog studies can offer an opportunity to analyze the safety and effectiveness of novel cancer drugs. Additionally, molecular research in this area could allow scientists to better understand pharmacokinetic and tumor pharmacodynamic methodology in a novel cancer model.

The commercial availability of reagents and assay platforms along with the fully-sequenced canine genome could lead to better information related to cancer drug pathways and comparative oncology as a whole. The oncology leaders at the conference went over protocol development and trial implementation.

One of the most important factors is to design a study that includes humane treatment of the pet animal subjects including the informed permission of the dog owner under the guidance of an animal care committee.  Clearly defined objectives should be a large part of each research study and a focus on progressing product development is vital. Additionally, evaluating drug dosage/schedule and biological activity of new therapeutics is a necessity.

Enhanced manufacturing processes and study reviews will become integrated in preclinical trial formation. Good Clinical Practice is also an important part of conducting research on veterinary species. Contract research organizations and biopharmaceuticals will need an exemplary consenting process, document management system, training program for investigators, and proper inspection of the facilities in which the studies are conducted.
With the help of these suggestions, comparative oncology between pet animal models and human patients could significantly improve cancer drug development over the coming years.

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Categories: Oncology

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