• Question: Can animals get melenoma? And, if yes, can we use their genes to dicover more..?

    Asked by jammiedodger to Jarv, John, Ken, Vicky on 21 Mar 2012.
    • Photo: Vicky Young

      Vicky Young answered on 21 Mar 2012:

      Simply put yes and yes! Although their genes can work slightly differently so you would need to check the animal genes against the human genes and make sure they have enough similarity and are controlled in the same way!

    • Photo: Ken Dutton-Regester

      Ken Dutton-Regester answered on 21 Mar 2012:

      Yeah, animals can get melanoma. You most often here about cases of peoples pets that get melanoma though (compared to wild animals). I dont know too much about melanoma in animals, however, the type of melanoma they get are usually specifc types- they usually occur around mucosal areas- i.e. the mouth or eyes (at least from when I have read about cases). I think this is because the fur of a dog helps protect the skin from getting damaged. They can also occur around the nail area (these are classes as acral melanomas- in humans these occur on feet or hands- they have specific types of mutations events and are differnt to those that occur on the rest of your body)

      Interestingly, there has been a new vaccine that has been developed and has shown significant success in dogs. As well, I think this is the first therapetic vaccine to be approved in humans or animals!

    • Photo: John Prytherch

      John Prytherch answered on 21 Mar 2012:

      I think that pigs might be particularly sensitive to sunlight (though I’m not sure whether melanomas are a problem…) and the ones that have been taken to Australia have to be carefully looked after, either kept in the shade somehow or covered in suncream! Ken might know more about this….