Pure-breed dogs, whose genetics have been standardized by hundreds of years of human intervention, provide highly predictable genetic models useful in designing clinical trials, in which specific drugs are matched to the molecular profiles of human patients, according to the study.
Genetic samples from 31 dogs were analyzed in the proof-of-concept study organized under NCI's Comparative Oncology Trials Consortium (COTC). Genetic samples were derived for this study from tumor biopsy samples. No dogs were harmed in any way in this clinical study.
The COTC study was organized according to the propensity of different breeds to develop particular types of cancer. The study included Scottish terriers with bladder transitional cell carcinoma, golden retrievers with lymphoma, American cocker spaniels with melanoma, and a fourth group of dogs open to all cancer types.
The study's 31 samples of dog tumors was compared to 40 normal canine tissues samples as a way of estimating the variance in gene expression. The target turnaround time for this analysis was 7 days, but the study averaged this process in less than 5 days.
The study has been published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.