Health & Spirit

Medicine Goes to the Dogs, Precisely

Scott LaFee on

Precision or personalized medicine is the mantra these days. It's the idea that medical science can use tools like genetic sequencing to better understand your specific ailment and how best to treat it.

What's good for man is apparently good for his best friend, too. A new company in California's Silicon Valley is touting targeted therapies for our canine buddies. For a price tag in the low four figures, it will sequence a dog's tumor and generate a list of recommended treatments for owners' veterinarians.

Cancer is a major health issue in dogs. Roughly half of all dogs over the age of 10 develop cancer at some point in their lives, often skin, lymph node or breast malignancies. Traditional cancer care for dogs is not inexpensive, ranging from $150 to $600 per dose of chemotherapy and $1,000 to $6,000 per radiation treatment, according to the Veterinary Cancer Society.

Precision medicine is still relatively rare among human patients, with roughly 12 percent of persons with advanced cancer receiving next-generation sequencing. More than 60 percent of advanced cancer patients receive no genomic testing at all, reports STAT.

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