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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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Classroom pets on the decline

News Story 1
 New research has found there are fewer pets in UK classrooms than in previous generations - despite 88 per cent of parents believing it significantly helps a child’s social skills and development.

More than half of the parents surveyed by Pets at Home (51 per cent) had a class pet as a child, compared to 46 per cent of children today.

The survey also found that non-traditional animals such as chickens, tadpoles, caterpillars and stick insects are becoming increasingly popular alternatives as classroom pets.  

News Shorts
BVA survey seeks views on surveillance

Vets who use veterinary scanning surveillance networks are being asked to complete a survey to help ensure the networks are fully able to protect animals in the UK.

‘Surveillance use, understanding and engagement across the veterinary profession’ is the first of a series of surveillance surveys that will also include localised surveys for Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Drafted by members of BVA’s Surveillance Working Group, it will run until Friday, 31 August 2017. Data collected will inform BVA’s policy position ensuring it is representative of disease surveillance across the UK.