Gerald P Murphy masthead

You and Your Pet — The Cancer Connection

Introducing PATH to Progress

Pet-Assisted Application of Technology to Enhance Health

Did you know cancer is the leading cause of natural death in pets?

“I’m afraid it’s cancer.” Those are frightening words to hear, whether from your family physician or from your family veterinarian. Chances are a form of this dreaded disease has already touched someone you know. Immediately images come to mind of surgeries, prolonged treatments with difficult side effects, and the constant worry of how things are going to turn out.

When a veterinarian tells a family that its pet dog has cancer, the reaction often carries an extra layer of concern. Are advanced cancer treatments even available for dogs? Are the costs involved prohibitively expensive? More often than not, the difficult decision is made not to pursue treatment. The recourse most people choose when told their pets have cancer is euthanasia, and that is unfortunate. There are other options and people need to be encouraged to explore new ways to defeat this terrible disease. That is why veterinarians at the Gerald P. Murphy Cancer Foundation created PATH to Progress®.

Researcher at microscope

PATH to Progress is an innovative cancer research program based on the belief that pet dogs living among us represent a unique opportunity to advance the treatment and prevention of important cancers that also affect humans, particularly bone and prostate cancer. PATH to Progress is a not-for-profit cancer treatment and prevention program financed through research grants and private donations. Pet dogs with naturally occurring cancers are enrolled in state-of-the-art clinical trials to test new life-saving treatments that ultimately lead to human application. In PATH to Progress we are not inducing cancer in animals. We are treating pet dogs already suffering from the same kinds of lethal cancers that naturally develop in both man and man’s best friend.

Man with dog

“PATH to Progress demonstrates the Murphy Foundation’s commitment to accelerating medical progress and defeating cancer in pets and people. We are transforming today’s scientific discoveries into tomorrow’s hope.”
    —David J. Waters, DVM, PhD, Executive Director
     Gerald P. Murphy Cancer Foundation.

Also, in order to move closer to the goal of cancer prevention, pet dogs without cancer are studied over their lifetime to determine the genetic and environmental factors that contribute to cancer risk. Ultimately, we will discover whether daily treatment with dietary supplements can significantly reduce cancer risk or slow down the deleterious consequences of aging.

Scientists at the Gerald P. Murphy Cancer Foundation, creators of PATH to Progress, are experts in comparative oncology, the study of differences and similarities between naturally occurring cancers of people and animals. The results of PATH to Progress research will accelerate the application of new strategies to prevent and treat cancer. The Murphy Foundation is perhaps the only cancer research and treatment center in the world that has both animal and human patients!

Veterinarian with dog

PATH to Progress is a timely and innovative approach that circumvents many of the shortcomings associated with the current path for bringing new cancer treatments to market. One problem with the usual method of cancer research — studying the response of cancers induced artificially in rodents — is that cancer treatments which are highly effective in the laboratory often fail when tested in human clinical trials. By embarking upon this new PATH to Progress, we are confident that pet dogs living among us can provide invaluable clues to important unanswered questions about cancer and aging — information that will be relevant to both pets and people. It truly is a win-win situation for people and pets!

For more information about PATH to Progress and the Gerald P. Murphy Cancer Foundation, contact our Comparative Oncology Research Program at 765-775-1005 or email us at murphyfoundation at

PATH to Progress® is a registered trademark of Gerald P. Murphy Cancer Foundation.