The Dog Aging Project is a systematic initiative designed for assisting individuals and companion dogs live healthier and longer lives together. So far, this project has acquired a pledge of $2.5 million from an association of technology financiers. The project has been developed to assemble together a vast community comprising dogs, veterinarians, possessors, investigators, and helpers for performing the biggest canine health study worldwide. 

In an article published today in Nature, Chief Veterinarian, Dr. Creevy and collaborators mentioned that the Dog Aging Project has two central goals as follows: first, for understanding the effect of lifestyle, genes, and environment on aging; and second, for intervening to upsurge the health span and the time spent free from any illness. The project intends to describe normative ageing as a major function of the size, breed, and sex of dogs, besides recognizing major environmental and genetic factors of age-related illness and death in companion dogs. 

Performed at the University of Washington, Professors Matt Kaeberlein and Daniel Promislow co-direct this project. They aim to principally emphasize on investigation for understanding dog aging, accomplished through the assortment and examination of big data. In addition, the project involves a small section that determines the usage of medications to possibly surge the lifespan of companion dogs. 

The majority of dogs are expected to partake in a longitudinal research, comprising about 10,000 dogs over a duration of ten years. The researchers will follow individual dogs for the entire period of their lives to comprehend the environmental and biological elements that create an impact on their longevity. Creevy mentioned that the research team intends to enroll a small subgroup of the select dogs (roughly 500) in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of Rapamycin, a medication that has displayed signs of prolonging longevity in different animals, for example, mice. This trial is termed the TRIAD, an abbreviation for the Test of Rapamycin in Aging Dogs. 

The additional funding of $2.5 million will enable the project to multiply the TRIAD Trial to take account of added study settings and to grow the number of dogs registered in the trial. The project investigators welcome all dogs present across the United States, apart from those in territories. The partaking dogs can be old or young, purebred or mixed breed, and with long-lasting health conditions or healthy. To ensure eligibility, their owners are requested to complete all assessments, besides submitting veterinary medical histories, and displaying the inclination to travel to one of the contributing medical sites. All dogs will be assessed at these sites for debarring health conditions.

A major foundation of this project is that the investigators consider dogs as a sentinel species (animals used for identifying danger) for people. This is because individuals and dogs reside in similar environments. Therefore, the project will possibly aid in recognise risk factors that impact the lifespan of humans. Dogs age faster than humans; therefore, the researchers can generate aging data more swiftly using a dog model than using human studies. In addition, the longitudinal segment of the project aims to apprehend the fundamental biology of aging, in contrast to understanding certain age-associated illnesses. Therefore, upon addressing the aging process, the research team will be able to delay or avoid quite a few age-related illnesses at the same time. This particular premise is significant because older people frequently have numerous chronic diseases.

Investigators of this open science enterprise have been dedicated to disseminating all undesignated research information to the public domain. Furthermore, the collected information will provide research prospects for ethicists, geographers, veterinarians, epidemiologists, and others reviewing miscellaneous clinical and elementary research problems.

References

  1. Creevy, K.E., Akey, J.M., Kaeberlein, M., Promislow, D.E.L., & The Dog Aging Project Consortium. (2021). An open science study of ageing in companion dogs. Nature. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-04282-9
  2. Kaeberlein, M., Creevy, K. E., & Promislow, D. E. (2016). The dog aging project: translational geroscience in companion animals. Mammalian genome27(7), 279-288. https://dx.doi.org/10.1007%2Fs00335-016-9638-7
  3. Hoffman, J. M., Creevy, K. E., Franks, A., O’Neill, D. G., & Promislow, D. E. (2018). The companion dog as a model for human aging and mortality. Aging Cell17(3), e12737. https://doi.org/10.1111/acel.12737 
  4. McCoy, B., Brassington, L., Dolby, G., Jin, K., Collins, D., Dunbar, M., & Snyder-Mackler, N. (2021). The Link Between Environment, Age, and Health in a Large Cohort of Companion Dogs from the Dog Aging ProjectInnovation in Aging5(Suppl 1), 991-992.
  5. Dog Aging Project. (2021, July 20). Home. Retrieved January 31, 2022, from https://dogagingproject.org/
I have always been fascinated by the living world, particularly the human brain, which eventually led me to a post-graduate degree in Neuroscience. I am a science enthusiast and always try to remain updated with the latest happenings in the field of medicine and biotechnology. I began my professional career as an Academic Writer (Nursing and Medical), besides acquiring a post-graduate diploma in Medical writing. I have also worked as a project fellow in Genetics, where my principal role involved working with the Indian Genetic Disease Database. Currently, I am focused on editing manuscripts of non-native English language speakers and making them publication-ready. Of late, I have gained interest in science journalism and the ways to disseminate accurate information to the mass. My hobbies include baking, photography, and reading thrillers and detective novels.

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