Our research benefits pet animals and people.
Cancer is most often a disease of older age. As our dogs and cats maintain their health better and live to older ages, they are at greater risk for cancer development. With more than 70 million pet dogs in the United States, cancer is a growing challenge to pet animals, their families, and to veterinarians. Cancer also remains a major cause of suffering and death in people, taking the lives of more than half a million people each year in the United States.
Scientists in the Werling Comparative Oncology Research Center (WCORC) are working to change this. As veterinarians, it is obvious that our work is aimed at helping our canine and feline companions. Our work is also aimed at benefiting human cancer patients.
A tremendous opportunity exists for the comparative nature of the work because specific forms of naturally-occurring cancer in pet animals very closely mimic those same forms of cancer in humans. Therefore, when a new successful approach to prevent, treat, or better manage cancer in pet animals is identified, there is clear justification to evaluate this approach in humans.
Comparative oncology studies in the Purdue University Veterinary Hospital include work in invasive urinary bladder cancer (transitional cell carcinoma), lymphoma, and brain cancer. WCORC scientists are actively involved in the Purdue University Center for Cancer Research, including the Bladder Cancer Focus Group.
The WCORC team at Purdue University also participates in the Comparative Oncology Trials Consortium (COTC). The COTC is part of the Comparative Oncology Program at the National Institutes of Health. The COTC consists of veterinary oncologists all across the country that work together to perform clinical trials in dogs and cats with cancer.
Cancer is a major cause of death in older pets and humans. The goal of the WCORC is to change this.
Canine lymphomas are a research focus area for the WCORC. We are actively seeking new and better ways to diagnose and treat these very common canine cancers.
Canine urinary bladder cancer has been a focus of research efforts in the WCORC for many years. The outlook for dogs with this cancer has improved substantially, and successful work in dogs is being translated into humans.
The PVM Canine Brain Tumor Research Program is a research program involving all aspects of canine brain tumor research: diagnosis using MRI, surgery, chemotherapy and other post-operative therapies.
In the Comparative Oncology Trials Consortium (COTC), veterinary oncologists, including those in the WCORC, are working together for rapid and successful clinical studies in pet animals with cancer.