Zoetis, American Humane Association launch Canines and Childhood Cancer Study

On Feb. 19, Zoetis and the American Humane Association officially launched their yearlong clinical trial known as the Canines and Childhood Cancer (CCC) Study.

According to the two groups, who published a news release on healthnewsdigest.com, the clinical trial will observe and analyze the effects and potential benefits of animal-assisted therapy on pediatric oncology patients and their families.

The study has three main areas of interest that will be explored as children dealing with cancer interact with therapy dogs over the 12-month period, including:

  • How interactions with therapy dogs affect stress and anxiety levels in pediatric cancer patients and their parents/guardians
  • How animal-assisted therapy affects patients' health-related quality of life
  • If and how therapy dogs are affected by their interactions with patients and their families

Children participating in the clinical trial range in age from 3 to 12, have only recently been diagnosed with cancer, and receive regular chemotherapy therapy in the outpatient clinic, the collaborators reported.

The clinical trial will involve five highly regarded children's hospitals spread across the country:

  • St. Joseph's Children's Hospital, Tampa, Fla.
  • Monroe Carrell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Randall Children's Hospital at Legacy Emanuel, Portland, Ore.
  • UC Davis Children's Hospital, Sacramento, Calif.
  • UMass Memorial Children's Medical Center, Worcester, Mass., in conjunction with Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts, North Grafton, Mass.

According to Vanessa Mariani, director of academic and professional affairs at Zoetis, the clinical trial should produce more knowledge about the human-animal bond and pave the way for related studies focused on animal-assisted therapy.

"We strive to advance the understanding and scientific rigor around animal-assisted therapy and to broaden informed adoption of the therapeutic power of the human-animal bond," Mariani said. "These incredible partnerships with participating sites and the collaboration between children's health providers, patients, and veterinarians is a model that we hope to continue advancing in the future for the benefit of children and animals through strong science."

More information

To learn more about the study, visit caninesandchildhoodcancer.org, where the collaborating partners have shared information from a six-month pilot study conducted in 2013.

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