Lymphoma is a form of cancer that occurs spontaneously in dogs and represents about 6% of all canine cancers.
In a study at the University of California, Davis, that was funded by the National Institutes for Health, a team of veterinary and human medical researchers identified a protein that appears to play a key role in the formation of lymphoma and other tumors. The researchers found that the protein may be a potential target for diagnosing and treating lymphoma in animals and humans.
Veterinary oncologist and lead researcher Dr. Xinbin Chen was quoted as saying: “Results from this study suggest that the gene known as RNPC1 may play a key role in the development of lymphoma.”
As part of the study, researchers examined the expression of the RNPC1 gene in spontaneously occurring cases of lymphoma in dogs and in noncancerous canine lymph node tissue. Data from the dog lymphoma tests showed that the RNPC1 gene is frequently overactive in dog lymphomas and may play a role in the formation of lymphomas.
Since dogs and humans are vulnerable to lymphoma and similar disease processes may be at work in each, the dog may serve both as a sentinel for environmental causes of the disease and as a model for exploring its causes and treatments, thus benefiting both animals and humans.