How Dogs Led the Way to Human Clinical Trials

UC Davis veterinarian Dr. Michael Kent examining a dog

How Dogs Led the Way to Human Clinical Trials

Each year, more than 6 million dogs in the US will be diagnosed with cancer. In fact, about half of all dogs over the age of 10 will eventually develop some form of cancer. This is always a stressful situation for the animals’ owners who must make complex and difficult decisions about how to treat their pet.

Dr. Michael Kent understands the problem better than most. As the director of the world renowned Center for Companion Animal Health at UC Davis, Dr. Kent and his colleagues treat thousands of dogs, cats, horses, and other pets diagnosed with cancer and related diseases every year as part of the center’s unique comparative oncology program. A leading expert in radiation and medical oncology, Dr. Kent splits his time working with animal patients in a clinical setting and researching cutting-edge approaches to detecting and treating cancer. His work with canine patients is an important pathway to a deeper understanding of cancer that can benefit both humans and animals alike.

“We can learn a lot from our companion animals that naturally develop cancer,” says Dr. Kent. “You have to look at the most common types of cancers in each species and make sure you’re applying the model correctly, but dogs have been fairly well studied and we know a lot about them.”

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