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MedUni Vienna & VetMed: Three years of joint cancer research for humans and animals

(Vienna, 13 Dec. 2010) The exploration of new therapeutic methods and their first application are often conducted with the help of animals. Comparative medicine, as this branch is called, makes no distinction between humans and animals, instead it aims at overarching thinking in the sense of “one medicine - one health”. To support joint research projects for humans and animals between MedUni Vienna and VetMed University Vienna, the association “RedPaw – cancer research for animals” (“RotePfote”) was founded, which celebrated its third anniversary at a commemorative event recently.

The association promotes so-called “one health” research projects, which focus equally on humans and animals with cancer as the aim of their research work. This initiative gets valuable support from Rector Wolfgang Schütz and VetMed Rector Sonja Hammerschmid, both of whom are committed to the topic of comparative medicine in their university development plans with the goal of fostering medical developments for humans and animals equally.

“To date it has already been possible to support three research projects with the objective of transferring novel therapeutic concepts against human cancers to dog cancer patients in order to develop affordable treatment methods for animals,” explains President Erika Jensen-Jarolim from the Institute of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research at MedUni Vienna. “Due to major similarities between animal and human genomes this strategy will become much more important in the future.” For example, it has been possible to generate a Herceptin®-type dog immunoglobulin, which is awaiting further development for clinical use in animal patients with breast cancer, to ensure that animals as well as humans have access to valuable therapies. The concept of comparative medicine is already becoming a reality.

» More information about RotePfote on the Internet