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Brain tumors in humans and canines share genetic similarities, new study indicates 


Researchers at the Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (VMBS), Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital have discovered that meningiomas — the most common type of brain tumor in humans and dogs — are extremely similar genetically.  

These newly discovered similarities will allow doctors to use a classification system that identifies aggressive tumors in both humans and dogs, while also opening the door for new and exciting collaborations between human and animal medicine.  

The study, published in the scientific journal Acta Neuropathologica, was led by Dr. Jonathan Levine and Dr. Beth Boudreau, VMBS professors in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Dr. Akash Patel and Dr. Tiemo Klisch, Baylor College of Medicine.  

The new discovery was made possible by building on recent work conducted by Patel’s team, as well as previous work by Levine and Boudreau that explored gliomas, another type of brain tumor. 

In 2020, Levine, Boudreau and colleagues at the VMBS and the Jackson Laboratory for Genetic Medicine found genetic similarities between gliomas — the second most common type of brain tumors — in humans and dogs. 

Armed with a new way of detecting aggressive tumors and the knowledge that dogs and humans share some brain tumor traits, Patel reached out to Levine about applying the findings to study meningiomas. 

Now that the researchers have established a connection between tumors across the two species, they can begin preparations for clinical trials, which can take several years to plan and fund. 

A separate group of researchers from the University of California, Davis, conducted a similar study with matching conclusions about meningiomas in dogs and people and published their work in the same journal. The two research groups look forward to collaborating in the future to develop tumor treatments for both species. 

For now, the next step is looking through the data from both studies to see if there are clues that will lead to new therapies.