Fri, Jan 15, 2010 - Page 2 News List

NTU opens cancer center to care for pet dogs, cats

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

National Taiwan University’s (NTU’s) School of Veterinary Medicine opened an animal cancer research and treatment center yesterday as part of its efforts to offer better health care services for the local dog population.

“The Animal Cancer Center is the first of its kind in Asia,” said Liu Chen-hsuan (劉振軒), dean of the school.

In addition to upgrading therapeutic services for animal cancer sufferers, Liu said, the center also looks forward to contributing to human cancer research because there are a lot of similarities between humans and dogs.

The nation’s dog and cat ­population of 1.5 million need better health care services, Liu said, adding that more and more people are keeping pet dogs or cats and treating their pets as close partners.

“When pets fall ill, their owners tend to get anxious and worried. Some of them even develop depression,” Liu said.

Citing statistics compiled by the NTU’s Veterinary Hospital, Liu said an average of between 25,000 and 28,000 dogs and cats receive treatment at the hospital each year, of which about 15,000 suffer from various types of cancer and the number of animal cancer patients has been increasing steadily.

To offer animal cancer victims better care, Liu said, NTU has pooled the resources of its College of Medicine, School of Dentistry and School of Life Sciences to set up the new center.

Chu Ruei-ming (朱瑞民), director of the center, said the facility will focus on cancer types most commonly seen in dogs in the initial stages, such as breast cancer in female dogs, and melanoma and soft tissue tumors among male dogs.

“Our center is cooperating with research institutions in other countries to develop a dog vaccine for melanoma, breast cancer and various types of hereditary cancer, “ Chu said, adding that he hopes the cooperative research programs would also contribute to human cancer research.

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