Could dogs help us understand osteosarcoma?
Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Did you know that sarcoma is far more common in dogs than it is in humans? In fact, our canine friends are ten times as likely to develop naturally-occurring osteosarcoma.

Osteosarcoma is a type of bone sarcoma mostly diagnosed in teenagers and young people. It begins in the bone and can spread to other parts of the body. By the time osteosarcoma is diagnosed, microscopic deposits may have already formed in other parts of the body.

Now a team at the University of Cambridge hopes to get a better understanding of how osteosarcoma spreads by measuring the levels of circulating tumour cells (CTCs) in the blood.

Thanks to your generosity, we’ve recently awarded £109,953 to Professor Matthew Allen at the University of Cambridge to measure the levels of CTCs. CTCs are cells that have escaped the main tumour and entered the bloodstream. For dogs who have already gone through the standard treatment of surgery and chemotherapy and are being monitored at veterinary schools, their levels of CTCs will be measured over time. The results will then be compared with clinical data on disease progression and overall survival.

Testing for CTCs in the blood is already being done to monitor the progression of other cancers, and the results from this project will help give a better idea on how to track osteosarcoma and how it is responding to treatments.

Man’s best friend could be coming to our rescue yet again.

Read more about this project and many others the Sarcoma UK has funded.