In cancer trails, pets are benefitting.Dogs have long been used for medical research,usually to the dismay of animal-rights
activist.Butnow pet owners are are enrolling their dogs in medical trials meant to benfit humans and animals alike. and some
animal advocates are applauding the development.
Most of the trials, often sponsored by drug companies involve pets with cancer in which the animals receive groundbreaking
drugs or other treatments that are eventually meant for people.Pfizer has introduced a human cancer drug that was given an
early test in pet dogs, and a california company,IDM Pharma, recently filed for fedral approval of an other cancer drug that
received similar testing.
Treating dogs gives researchers an idea of whether and how the treatment will work in people, while at the same time possibly
helping the pets. "it can help in reshaping the image of animals in science, from being considered tools to being considered
patients". Said Martin stephens, the vice president for animalresearch issues at the Human society of the US. "and we would
love to see that change."
The National cancer Institute has set up a consortium of more than a dozen veterinery teaching hospitals to conduct the tests.
The consortium has just completed its first study. With another to begin in a few weeks and several more planned for next year.
Gogernment and acedemic scients are also now setting up a non profit group to study DNA and tumour samples from pet dogs,
in an effort to pinpoint genes associatiated with cancer in both dogs and people.