Health SystemSchool of MedicineMedical CenterMedical Group
UCDHS logo periodical
Building on basics

The truth about cats and dogs

Cheryl London is used to the surprised look she gets when she tells people she's a cancer specialist. As an assistant professor of veterinary medical oncology at UC Davis, London divides her time between research and clinical practice. "I only treat cancer patients," she says.

That's about when you realize she's talking about cats and dogs.

And why not? Cancer is, after all, an equal-opportunity disease, affecting not only humans but dogs, cats, mice and chickens. Patterns in animal cancer often show up in similar forms in humans.

"A lot of my colleagues are surprised to find out that other animals get cancer," says London, a graduate of Tufts Veterinary School and Harvard University who holds a Ph.D. in immunology. "If we can understand the biology of tumors in dogs, it helps us understand the biology of tumors in people."

Dogs are valuable in this pursuit for many reasons. If they live past 10 years, 50 percent of dogs will develop tumors. Because they live a shorter life than we do, researchers can see the progress of the disease without the 40-to-60-year incubation period often needed for many human cancers. And new chemotherapy drugs can be used on dogs as soon as they are available.

"Dogs and cats live in our environment and are exposed to the same carcinogens, so they serve as sentinels alerting us to toxins in the environment," London points out.


Home | Table of Contents | To our Readers | Building on Basics
Focusing on Patients | In Translation | First Steps
Campus Connection | Benefactors | News in Brief

UC Davis Health System | © 2000, 2001, 2002 UC Regents. All rights reserved.

Message to Editor
Supporting Cancer Center
UC Davis Cancer CenterUC Davis Health System

Cheryl London, an assistant professor of veterinary medical oncology, with a patient.