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Shared Risk Factors Of Cancer Between Cats and People


Increasingly and finally – dogs are being used as models to study human disease, since they occur naturally in dogs.

Now,  a large-scale study on cat intestinal cancer at MU University College of Veterinary Medicine provides new insight to pet diseases and may indicate environmental factors causing cancer in humans, and our feline friends are helping out.

The researchers studied 1,129 cases of intestinal cancer in cats of various breeds from 1964 to 2004. Most of the cancers were lymphoma.

Dr. Kim Selting, associate teaching professor of oncology at the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, said the researchers are looking for cancer development in animals in order to find common risk factors. According to Science, Selting believes this information can be used to identify risk factors and treatments for humans.

Selting said the study is important because cats share the same environment as we do. Doctors can become more aware of environmental factors that could be causing tumor progression in different species, humans included, by studying patterns of cancer development.

The project is part of the “One Health/One Medicine: The Convergence of Human and Animal Health” at MU. It received an award for the best research generated from the Veterinary Medical Database and was published in the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association.

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