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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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Campaign highlights ‘devastating impact’ of smoking around pets

News Story 1
 Leading vet charity PDSA has launched a campaign highlighting the ‘devastating impact’ that smoking can have on pets. The launch coincides with National No Smoking Day (14 March 2018) and aims to raise awareness of the risks of passive smoking and how to keep pets safe.

“Recent studies highlight that this is a really serious issue, and we want pet owners to know that they can make a real difference by simply choosing to smoke outdoors away from their pets,” said PDSA vet Olivia Anderson-Nathan. “We want pet owners to realise that, if they smoke, their pets smoke too.”  

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News Shorts
AWF named charity of the year

The Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) has been chosen as charity of the year by the Veterinary Marketing Association (VMA). AWF is a vet-led charity, supported by the BVA, which aims to improve animal welfare though research funding, supporting veterinary education, providing pet care advice and encouraging debate on welfare issues.

VMA has pledged a range of support, including raising awareness and funds at their awards ceremony, which takes place on Friday 16 March, as well as offering marketing support through VMA marketing workshops.