A One Health Approach to Beating Cancer

Author: Sharon M. Albright, DVM, CCRT

One Health is a collaborative approach to understanding health and disease in humans, animals, and the environment. When physicians, osteopathic physicians, veterinarians, nurses, and other scientific-health and environmentally related disciplines work together, gains in scientific knowledge occur more rapidly and more efficiently. One Health is a guiding principle in the AKC Canine Health Foundation’s mission to advance the health of all dogs and their owners. Recent discoveries by AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF) funded researchers demonstrate the power of this approach in fighting cancer, a devastating disease found in humans and dogs.

With rapid advancements in the technology used to study DNA, scientists are investigating the genomics of cancer - describing the structure, function, and editing of genetic material in tumors and normal tissue. Understanding the number, location, and variety of genetic mutations found in various cancers provides insight on how the cancer develops and progresses. Knowledge of how and where these mutations affect cell to cell communications that facilitate cancer indicates potential treatment targets. If we block the effects of a mutation, we may be able to block cancer progression. Some promising examples from CHF-funded research include the following:

Understanding the similarities and differences in tumor biology between humans and dogs is an important step in helping both species fight cancer. Naturally occurring cancer in dogs is often a good model for human cancer because disease development and response to treatment can be similar in both species. Exploring the genetic characteristics of various cancers is critical to refine our knowledge of the disease and focus our treatment efforts. The AKC Canine Health Foundation and its donors are committed to this One Health approach to beating cancer, so that both dogs and humans can live longer, healthier lives.

Explore our Research Grants Portfolio at akcchf.org/portfolio for studies in oncology and other health concerns that have One Health implications.


  1. Parker, H. G., Dhawan, D., Harris, A. C., Ramos-Vara, J. A., Davis, B. W., Knapp, D. W., & Ostrander, E. A. (2020). RNAseq expression patterns of canine invasive urothelial carcinoma reveal two distinct tumor clusters and shared regions of dysregulation with human bladder tumors. BMC Cancer, 20(251). doi.org/10.1186/s12885-020-06737-0
  2. Hédan, B., Rault, M., Abadie, J., Ulvé, R., Botherel, N., Devauchelle, P., Copie‐Bergman, C., Cadieu, E., Parrens, M., Alten, J., Zalcman, E. L., Cario, G., Damaj, G., Mokhtari, K., Loarer, F. L., Coulomb‐Lhermine, A., Derrien, T., Hitte, C., Bachelot, L., … André, C. (2020). PTPN11 mutations in canine and human disseminated histiocytic sarcoma. International Journal of Cancer. doi.org/10.1002/ijc.32991
  3. Baldanza VE, Rogic A, Yan W, Levine CB, Levine RA, Miller AD, et al. (2020) Evaluation of canonical Hedgehog signaling pathway inhibition in canine osteosarcoma. PLoS ONE 15(4): e0231762. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0231762
  4. Megquier, K., Turner-Maier, J., Swofford, R., Kim, J.-H., Sarver, A. L., Wang, C., … Lindblad-Toh, K. (2019). Comparative Genomics Reveals Shared Mutational Landscape in Canine Hemangiosarcoma and Human Angiosarcoma. Molecular Cancer Research, 17(12), 2410–2421. doi.org/10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-19-0221

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