A group of Kansas State University researchers has made valuable findings in the search for cancer's cure.
While researching ways to improve animal health, the scientists -- Raymond "Bob" Rowland, a virologist and professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology, and Deryl Troyer, professor of anatomy and physiology --have made two important discoveries that can also improve human health. Not only have they found pigs with severe combined immunodeficiency, or SCID, but they are also the first to discover the connection with human cancer, particularly melanomas and pancreatic cancers.
The researchers call it a scientific achievement with huge potential to improve surgeries and drug development involved with cancer.
"This could be a game-changer," Troyer said.
It began with Rowland's research with controlling and eliminating porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, or PRRS. The work led to a fortuitous discovery: a naturally occurring line of immunodeficient pigs.
"Pigs are closely related to humans anatomically and physiologically," Rowland said. "This can have huge potential for human cancer research."
After the discovery of SCID pigs, Rowland turned to Troyer, who performs cancer research. Their collaborative work not only enables researchers to better study SCID pigs, but they can also apply their research to the study of human cancer and anti-cancer drugs.
"This is a great example of collaborative and interdisciplinary research," Troyer said. "With two perspectives, there is often a synergy that evolves because of different ways of thinking."