Page last updated at 11:57 GMT, Tuesday, 9 June 2009 12:57 UK

Cancer-beating dog gets VIP tour

Scrooble the dog with Professor David Argyle
Scrooble has been given a tour of the 3m cancer centre, which is the first facility of its kind in Scotland

A border collie which overcame cancer and became a Crufts finalist has been given a special tour at a new treatment centre for pets in Edinburgh.

Scrooble competed in the 2008 Crufts Flyball agility contest six months after finishing treatment.

He has been taken around the £3m cancer centre, which is the first facility of its kind in Scotland.

The centre at Edinburgh's Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies gives the latest therapies for animals.

The new centre will also provide insight into the treatment of cancers in humans.

Scrooble, who is seven, is no stranger to the vet school, having completed eight months of chemotherapy for lymphoma at the Edinburgh University's Hospital for Small Animals at Easter Bush.

The centre will also give insight into the treatment of cancer in humans

Sara Hawkswell, 42, of Armadale, West Lothian, who owns Scrooble, said: "Scrooble was so used to coming in for treatment that he would look out for anyone he knew walking past in the waiting room and then, when it was time for his treatment, he would jump right up on to the table.

"When Scrooble was undergoing treatment, the staff were incredibly friendly and helpful.

"Scrooble is now full of energy, competing in agility at shows most weekends, and since his recovery has gone up two agility grades."

The Veterinary Cancer Care centre, which is being officially opened at 1615 BST by the Duchess of Hamilton, is expected to treat up to 20 cases of animal cancer a week.

Its state of the art equipment includes a computerised tomography (CT) scanner, which will be able to take scans of horses, and a linear accelerator to provide radiotherapy treatment.

Research will include identifying cancer-causing genes, understanding tumour progression and analysing the role of stem cells in cancers.

Living longer

Centre director Professor David Argyle said: "The centre will have the most sophisticated diagnostic procedures, followed by comprehensive cancer therapies for pets, including a linear accelerator to provide radiotherapy.

"Our understanding in treating cats and dogs and how cancer takes hold will also pave the way for comparative research, relating what we know about the disease in animals to humans to improve treatments for all."

About one-in-three dogs and one-in-five cats will develop cancer, and the disease is the main cause of death in household pets.

Although cancer rates are increasing because animals are living longer, as with humans, new treatments have led to better survival rates.

Scientists at the Dick Vet have already discovered a rogue cancer stem cell in dogs that could help in finding new treatments for bone cancer in children and adolescents.

The cancer centre forms part of a £100m development on the Dick Vet site, which includes a research building and teaching building.

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