The good news is that incredibly bright and brilliant people are exploring a wide variety of ways to help us save our dogs from cancer. But they can’t do it alone — they need you to participate in clinical trials that could ultimately save your dog’s life.
Unlike mice, who are engineered to develop tumors, most human cancers develop naturally and slowly over years. Consequently, dogs are natural models for studying many of the same mechanisms of cancer – including melanoma, which often occurs in older pets, and for which there are limited treatment options.
In particular, research has shown that mutated BRAF is linked to the development of melanoma, and to other types of cancer as well. By using dogs with melanoma to study this genetic anomaly, researchers are hoping to learn more about how this mutation triggers the formation of cancerous cells and why some patients are resistant to standard treatments like surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.
A popular dog dewormer, fenbendazole (also known as mebendazole or albendazole), may have a role to play in fighting cancer. The anthelmintic drug, which is approved in Canada as an antiparasitic for dogs, has been shown to suppress the growth of cancer cells outside living things. It also appears to stop the proper growth of microtubules inside cancerous cells, which essentially provide structure to all cells.
However, no studies have yet been conducted to test if fenbendazole treats or cures human cancer. Some preclinical studies have found potential for fenbendazole as an anticancer agent in humans, but it is not an approved cancer treatment. dog dewormer for cancer