Comparative medicine

Comparative medicine represents a revolutionary advance in medical research because companion animals are emerging as a valuable predictive model for human diseases. Conventional in-vivo models have obvious translational limitations, underlining the need to explore innovative approaches to understanding and treating diseases.

Dogs and cats, as individuals subjected to natural diseases, share many clinical, physiological, and genetic characteristics with humans. This similarity offers a unique opportunity to study complex diseases in a natural environment (which is shared with humans), improving our understanding of the underlying mechanisms.

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How can companion animals contribute to human health ?

Ethical approach in comparative medicine

Advanced veterinary care for pets provides an established infrastructure for clinical trials on companion animals. Pets included in clinical trials are treated as real patients with safe new diagnostic and/or therapeutic tools under development for humans. Veterinarians and pet owners are encouraged to participate in comparative medicine studies by providing biological materials and clinical data, because ultimately pet patients and their owners will benefit greatly from the ongoing research. Clinical trials give pets access to innovative diagnostic approaches, and safe therapeutic solutions under development for humans. The proposal is a pioneering research programme strongly related to the One Health concept – One Medicine Concept for both Humans and Pets. 

Establishing a pharmacological continuum :

The pharmacological similarities between companion animals and humans provide an ideal continuum for studying drug responses. Understanding comparative pharmacology allows us to anticipate the effects of drugs on humans, facilitating the development of safer and more effective therapies.

Shared pharmacokinetics and toxicology :

Pharmacokinetic and toxicological studies in companion animals provide crucial information on the distribution, metabolism and elimination of drugs. This in-depth knowledge enables treatment protocols to be optimised, minimising the risks to human patients in clinical trials.

Reliability of clinical trials :

By using animal models of natural diseases, comparative medicine provides a more realistic platform for clinical research. Results obtained in companion animals can be more reliably extrapolated to the human population, thereby strengthening the validity of clinical trials.

gray short coated dog lying on floor

Revolutionising Medical Research

By adopting comparative medicine, we are paving the way for significant medical discoveries and advances. Pets are not only our loyal companions, they also become invaluable partners in the quest to understand and treat human diseases.

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