SYDNEY, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- Hoover, a 10-year-old beagle from Australia, is the first patient in the world to receive a new nanomedicine drug which could revolutionize the treatment of prostate cancer.
Hoover was chosen for the trial by the University of Queensland (UQ) which was released on Monday, because dogs -- like humans -- naturally develop prostate cancer in old age.
The nanomedicine Hoover received attaches itself to certain proteins found in prostate cancer, meaning treatments such as chemotherapy can be more effectively targeted.
"Chemotherapy is a common treatment for most cancers," associate professor Kris Thurecht from UQ said.
"Unfortunately, it can also cause serious side effects because it is not always able to differentiate cancer cells from the healthy ones, sometimes damaging healthy cells in the process."
The cutting edge field of nanomedicine offers the potential to target only the cancer cells with minimal impact on healthy cells.
Thurecht said that so far pre-clinical tests have been highly successful in treating prostate cancer in the laboratory, leading in some cases to total remission.
Director of Brisbane Veterinary Specialist Centre and the Australian Animal Cancer Foundation Rod Straw said that Hoover could prove to be the vanguard for a revolution in health care.
"Cases like Hoover's are very important to cancer research," Straw said.
"We can learn to develop cancer treatments for not only pets but humans as well and our best friends may hold the key."