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Cancer treatment for golden retrievers?

Golden retriever

A gene in dogs linked to increased lifespan may also lead to cancer treatments for humans and animals.

US researchers, at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), looked at genes associated with longevity in golden retrievers – who have a 65% chance of dying from cancer – to understand how their prospects could be improved.

The team compared the DNA of pets that had either died before 12 years, or were alive at 14 years. This showed that certain variants of a gene called HER4 meant dogs lived longer by a difference of almost two years.

HER4 is part of a group of human genes that includes HER2, which is well known to accelerate the growth of cancer cells.

Robert Rebhun, at UC Davis, said: “If we find that this variant in HER4 is important either in the formation, or progression of cancer in golden retrievers, or if it can actually modify a cancer risk in this cancer predisposed population, that may be something that can be used in future cancer studies in humans.”

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