The structure of brains across mammal species is remarkably similar. This similarity has allowed doctors from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine and Medical School to collaborate on research into glioblastoma, a deadly form of brain cancer.
“It just so happens that no other species spontaneously develops brain tumors at the rate or incidence that dogs do,” said Elizabeth Pluhar, DVM, PhD, and member of the Masonic Cancer Center. “And the incidence in dogs is very similar to what it is in people.”
Researchers are hoping to discover better ways to treat glioblastoma, while simultaneously providing relief to canines. The University of Minnesota is one of the only medical centers in the nation capable of conducting this type of comparative oncology.
“We do more neurosurgery on dogs than any other veterinary center in the world,” said Dr. Pluhar. Her and Dr. Matthew Hunt, Medical School, have removed brain tumors from more than 200 canines.