Model for testing anti-cancer drugs

Monday, 16 July, 2001

Working with Dr Kay in the Department of Pathology, University of Western Australia, Janelle Pelham has begun to model the testing of specific anti-cancer drugs on the domestic dog.

The work of understanding the role of DNA methylation in cancer has led the Department to establish that the attachment of methyl groups to DNA is defective in many different types of cancers. As no appropriate model exists for testing new therapeutic agents designed to correct these DNA methylation defects, the domestic dog was chosen.

The reason for this is that many forms of human cancer also develop spontaneously in dogs, that as in humans genomic DNA is profoundly hypomethylated in dogs suffering from lymphoma and leukemia, and that the domestic dog's environment is similar to a human's.

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