One of the UK’s highest profile specialists wants the profession to forge closer links with human medicine in the fight against cancer.
Speaking on the first anniversary of the opening of Fitzpatrick Referrals’ oncology hospital, Noel Fitzpatrick also lamented the fact some members of the veterinary profession were too critical of progress.
Since opening on the Surrey Research Park in Guildford, the £6.2 million centre has treated more than 1,000 patients.
Same options objective
To stimulate more collaboration between human and veterinary sectors, the centre has already established links and started discussions with leading institutions from the world of human cancer treatment, but Prof Fitzpatrick believes more needs to be done.
He said: “My goal is to provide the same options for animals we see here as those offered to patients in human medicine.
“I strongly believe there are so many compounds and drugs out there that could cure certain forms of cancer in animals, or at least palliate or treat certain forms, but they don’t get used in the veterinary arena because we don’t have access to them.”
Prof Fitzpatrick continued: “Bone cancer in dogs is genetically strikingly similar to bone cancer in humans. In fact, there might be more in common, genetically, between a dog and a child with bone cancer, than between two children with the disease.
“There is also huge potential to learn from animal cancers such as soft tissue sarcoma, lymphoma, and prostate and brain tumours, as many share significant commonalities between humans and animals.
“Wouldn’t it be good if we were to try to save the lives of these animals and humans with a joined-up effort?”
- Read the full interview with Prof Fitzpatrick in the 5 September issue of Veterinary Times.