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Lessons from vets’ treatment of pets will improve people’s medical treatment

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f6953 (Published 19 November 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f6953
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. 1London

Greater collaboration between medical and veterinary researchers would improve our understanding of human disease and speed up the development of potential treatments, scientists have said.

Learning from animals as patients, a discipline known as “comparative medicine” or “one medicine,” involves combining and translating the scientific and clinical knowledge gained from human and veterinary medicine to advance the wellbeing of people as well as animals. In comparative medicine, data from animal research, rather than being derived from experiments on laboratory animals, come from research and treatment involving companion animals and livestock undertaken primarily for the benefit of the animals.

Comparative medicine is already being used at universities to improve understanding in areas such as ageing, cancer, and heart disease and is thought to have potential for accelerating research in these areas further.

Success stories include a sponge impregnated with a chemotherapeutic agent inserted locally …

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