“All dogs can develop cancer, but goldens are most likely to develop cancer,” Fritz says. “We think they have a lot of cancer-associated gene mutations. We haven’t narrowed them down, so we haven’t been able to target them.”
of morris animal foundation There was a continuous study We have been studying Golden Retrievers for more than 10 years, trying to identify genetic, environmental, nutritional, and other factors that influence cancer. And scientists at the University of California, Davis, trying to figure out why some golden retrievers live longer than others, have discovered a genetic mutation associated with increased longevity.
The researchers found that Golden Retrievers with this mutation lived nearly two years longer than those without the mutation, which is quite a long time difference for a dog. Interestingly, the mutations they identified Derived from gene families associated with cancer, including human cancers.
Researchers at the University of California, Davis said they took an unusual approach in that they “did not look for genes associated with cancer.” robert ravenprofessor of surgery and radiology at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, and co-corresponding author.
“We looked at them based on how long they lived,” Leven said. “What’s surprising is that when we looked at their lifespans, the genetic mutations that emerged were genes that are known to be associated with cancer.”
good dog and bad dog
More than 300 golden retrievers participated in the study, including Leven’s dog Jessica. Researchers compared DNA taken from blood samples of Golden Retrievers that were alive at age 14 and those that died before age 12, and found that dogs with the genetic mutation lived 13.5 years longer than the average 11.6 years. It has been found.
Leboun said there appear to be “good” and “bad” variants of the gene, with one promoting survival and the other shortening lifespan. “Jessie” developed a slow-growing soft tissue sarcoma at the age of 14, but she lived until she was 16 and a half.
“She had one good mutation and one bad mutation,” he said. “Our theory is that the bad ones could have contributed to the development of cancer, while the good ones kept her cancer at bay until she was 14 years old.”
The study also found interesting differences between male and female dogs, raising the possibility that female hormones such as estrogen may be involved, he said.
A female dog with one copy of the bad mutation will have a significantly shorter lifespan than a female dog without the bad mutation. In contrast, there was no difference between male dogs with one copy of the defective mutation and male dogs with none.
For male and female dogs, having two copies of the bad variant resulted in significantly shorter lifespans.
The study “shows strong evidence that this mutation is associated with longevity in golden retrievers.” noah snyder mucklerHe is an associate professor in the College of Life Sciences at Arizona State University, but was not involved in the study.
“This discovery is intriguing and, like most things in science, raises more questions than answers,” he said.
Canine and human cancer gene families
The specific mutations identified in this study were found on a gene called ErbB4, also known as HER4. This is the dog equivalent of a gene in a human gene family whose mutations are associated with cancer.
In dog studies, geneticists say ErbB4 gene mutations are associated with increased lifespan equivalent to an additional 12 to 14 years in humans. Danica Banashprofessor of population health and reproductive sciences at the University of California, Davis, and co-corresponding author.
He said the study aimed to “address one of life’s greatest mysteries, not just in canine science, but in human health.” eleanor carlsondirector of vertebrate genomics at the Broad Institute of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, was also not involved in the study.
“Why do some people live longer than others? Why do some dogs live longer than others?” she said. “We don’t know why, but this study begins to address that question.”
ErbB4 mutants appear to act in two ways. It can act like an oncogene, which advances cancer, or like a tumor suppressor gene, which puts the brakes on the disease. LeBune said it’s unclear what triggers each action. “We do not know the exact mechanism by which this variant stimulates or inhibits cancer growth in golden retrievers, or what effect each has.” he said.
The potential for this discovery could be significant. Her previous research on variants in the HER2 gene, which is part of the same family as ErbB4, led to major advances in human breast cancer treatment, resulting in Targeted therapy called Herceptin For patients with HER2-positive breast cancer.
Hope for golden retrievers and their humans
Experts say real-world applications of the research are likely years away, but the findings could help identify and treat vulnerable dogs and possibly humans. The hope is that this will lead to tests and other diagnostic tools.
“Dogs and humans share many of the same environmental factors and genes, and both species function similarly,” LeBune says.
He and his colleagues hope to conduct large-scale studies on golden retrievers and investigate other breeds as well.
“Maybe we can find something that extends the lifespan of other breeds,” he said. “We would like to consider this variant in other breeds that do not die as much from cancer as Goldens.”
Canine cancer risks have done little to diminish their appeal. “They are simply amazing dogs, which makes their high rates of cancer especially tragic,” said Kelly Diehl, senior director of science communications at the Morris Animal Foundation. “Almost every Golden Retriever owner understands this statistic and is passionate about finding ways to reduce the incidence of cancer in their beloved breed.”
Fritz, who works for the Veterinary Referral Association in Gaithersburg, Md., grew up with golden retrievers, all of whom died of cancer. She said her experiences with her childhood dogs inspired her to become a veterinary oncologist.
“They are really adorable dogs,” she said. “Honest, loyal and always there for you. Emma was her sweetheart. She slept with my little son every night and she always took care of him and his sister. I was there.”
Before Emma passed away, the family added another Golden Retriever, 11-month-old Jax. “Professionally and personally, knowing what I know, I wouldn’t have any other breed,” Fritz said.
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