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Dogs aid breast cancer research
Breast carcinoma has long been known to share similarities in dogs and humans.
New similarities found in mammary tumours 

Scientists have discovered new similarities between mammary tumours in dogs and breast carcinomas in humans.

Using archived samples of mammary tumours from dogs, researchers at the University of Zurich found that some cells in the vicinity of the tumour behave in the same way as corresponding cells in humans.

In the development of tumours and the progression of carcinomas, both the characteristics of cancer cells and the cells surrounding the tumour are important. In humans, many tumours are able to reprogram healthy cells around the the tumour so that they support the growth of cancerous cells.

This mechanism plays a major role in human breast carcinoma, but until now it was not known whether this occurs in dogs; despite the fact that breast carcinoma has long been known to share similarities in dogs and humans.

When Zurich scientists analysed the surrounding tissue of canine mammary tumours they found that the healthy tissue around the tumour produced substances that promote the growth of tumours.

Enni Markkanen, of the University of Zurich’s Vetsuisse Faculty, explained: “Simply speaking, the tumour enslaves its environment: it forces the surrounding cells to work to its benefit.”

Researchers say this mechanism works in the same way in dogs and in humans, meaning tumour tissue from dogs is much better suited to research on breast carcinoma than tissue from rats on cells cultivated in the laboratory.

Markkanen added: “Importantly, however, we don’t view our dog patients as test subjects for cancer research. But they can help us to better understand breast carcinoma in both dogs and humans and fight it more effectively.”

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Scheme to protect wildlife and reduce flooding

News Story 1
 Natural England has announced a new scheme to improve flood protection, boost wildlife and create 160 hectares of new saltmarsh. The £6 million scheme in Lancashire will effectively unite the RSPB’s Hesketh Out Marsh Reserve and Natural England’s Ribble Estuary National Nature Reserve. The completed reserve will be the largest site of its kind in the north of England. 

News Shorts
Welfare event to discuss ethical dilemmas faced by vets

Students and ethics experts will host an event on the difficult moral challenges facing vets. Ethical issues, such as euthanasia and breeding animals for certain physical traits, will be discussed by prominent speakers including TV vet Emma Milne and RSPCA chief vet James Yeates. Other topics will include how to tackle suspected animal abuse and the extent of surgical intervention.

The conference will look at how these dilemmas affect the wellbeing of vets, and explore how to better prepare veterinary students for work. It will be held at the University of Edinburgh’s Easter Bush Campus from 30 September - 1 October 2017. Tickets can be purchased here.