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Osteosarcoma genetically similar in dogs and human children - study
Researchers found that canine OS shares many of the genomic features of human OS.

Findings could lead to better treatments

The bone cancer osteosarcoma is genetically similar in dogs and human children, according to new research.

The study, published in Communications Biology, could help in the treatment of the disease, which has not seen a significant medical breakthrough in almost 30 years.

Senior author Will Hendriks said: “While osteosarcoma (OS) is rare in children, it is all too common in many dog breeds, which makes it a prime candidate for the kind of comparative cancer biology studies that could enhance drug development for both children and our canine friends.”

In the study, researchers at Tufts University and Translational Genomics Research sequenced the genomes of 59 dogs.

They found that canine OS shares many of the genomic features of human OS, including low mutation rates, altered cellular pathways and unique genetic features of metastatic tumours.

Professor in comparative oncology Cheryl A. London said the findings "set the stage for understanding OS development in dogs and humans, and establish genomic contexts for future comparative analyses.”

Researchers also identified new features of canine OS which may also warrant further investigation, including recurrent and potentially cancer-causing mutations in two genes - SETD2 and DMD.

Osteosarcoma is the most commonly-diagnosed bone cancer in dogs but it is rare in humans.

Chemotherapy and surgery can extend survival, but some 30 per cent of pediatric OS patients die from metastatic tumours within five years. In dogs, the cancer moves much faster, with more than 90 per cent succumbing to metastatic disease within two years.

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Zoo animals step on the scales for annual weigh-in

News Story 1
 Squirrel monkeys, penguins and meerkats are just some of the animals that stepped on the scales on Thursday (22 August) for the start of ZSL London Zoo’s annual weigh-in.

The annual event gives keepers a chance to check the animals in their care are healthy, eating well and growing at the correct weight. Keepers say that a growing waistline can also help them to detect pregnancies, which is vital as many of the species at the zoo are endangered.

The data is then added to a database shared with zoos and conservationists across the globe. This helps keepers to compare information and provide better care for the species they are fighting to protect.  

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Professor Abdul Rahman announced as keynote speaker for BVA Members’ Day 2019

Celebrated Indian vet and parasitologist Professor Abdul Rahman is set to deliver the keynote speech at BVA Members’ Day 2019.

Professor Rahman will present his insights into the human behaviour challenges of controlling zoonotic disease in his talk: ‘A One Health approach to rabies elimination in Asia’. The talk will outline efforts to gain political support for dog vaccination programmes in China, as well as the need for a collaborative approach between vets, public health, livestock and animal welfare agencies.

The event takes place on Thursday, 19 September at Brangwyn Hall, Swansea. Tickets are free but must be reserved through the BVA website as places are limited.