Diabetes is a chronic disease that can affect dogs and cats and other animals (including apes, pigs, and horses) as well as humans. Although diabetes can’t be cured, it can be managed very successfully. To understand what diabetes is, it helps to understand some of this process. The glucose–insulin connection The conversion of food nutrients into energy to power the body’s cells involves an ongoing interplay of two things: • Glucose: essential fuel for the body’s cells. When food is digested, the body breaks down some of the nutrients into glucose, a type of sugar that is a vital source of energy for certain body cells and organs. The glucose is absorbed from the intestines into the blood, which then transports the glucose throughout the body. Meanwhile, an important organ next to the stomach called the pancreas releases the hormone insulin into the body. Insulin acts as a “gatekeeper” that tells cells to grab glucose and other nutrients out of the bloodstream and use them as fuel. With diabetes, the glucose-insulin connection isn’t working as it should. 16 April 2014 Toronto - With a $165,000 Innovation Grant from the Canadian Cancer Society, a University of Saskatchewan research team will treat dogs with drug-resistant lymphoma to uncover the reasons for this resistance and to identify ways to reverse it. Although scientists have identified the various processes involved in anticancer drug resistance, it remains a major problem and effective treatment is lacking. “The cancer we’re studying – lymphoma – is very similar to human non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The same therapies are used, and both the canine and human cancers develop similar drug resistance,” says study leader Dr Troy Harkness, a molecular geneticist and professor at the university. “Because dogs age faster than humans, their disease advances more quickly and we are able to observe results that much sooner.” The dogs participating in the study have already been diagnosed with drug-resistant lymphoma. They will receive treatment on an outpatient basis and the results of their treatment will be analyzed as part of this study. For over a decade, Dr Harkness’ research has focused primarily on cancers that no longer respond to treatment. Last year his research team began studying the effect of Metformin on dogs with drug-resistant lymphoma.
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