Researchers at North Carolina State University are looking to soy as a way to make traditional canine cancer therapy more effective, less stressful for the dog and less costly for the owners.
Dr. Steven Suter, assistant professor of oncology, and NC State colleagues studied genistein – a molecule found in soy that has been shown to be toxic to a wide variety of cancer cells in humans – to determine whether it would also inhibit the growth of canine lymphoma cells.
The researchers found that a commercially available form of genistein called GCP was effective in killing canine lymphoid cells in a laboratory setting, and that GCP is “bioavailable” in canines – meaning it is absorbed into the bloodstream where it can affect cancer cells in the body. The researchers hope that their findings will lead to the use of GCP for their canine patients in conjunction with traditional cancer treatments like chemotherapy.
The researchers’ findings were published in Clinical Cancer Research.
“Humans have been using soy in conjunction with traditional chemotherapy for some time as a chemo potentiator,” Suter says. “This means that the GCP makes the chemotherapy work more efficiently and faster, which translates to less stress on the patient and less money spent on chemotherapy.”
Since dogs absorb GCP in much the same way that humans do, Suter hopes that veterinarians will be able to offer this therapy to canine patients in the near future.
“Since GCP is a dietary supplement, it is harmless to patients,” he adds. “Plus it’s inexpensive and easy to administer in a pill form. There’s really no downside here.”