I don't like the idea of experimenting on dogs. Are these dogs treated like lab rats?
No! Our goal is extending the dogs' quality of life and overall health span. Dogs in this study are considered to be patients of a clinical trial. Therefore, their safety and well-being are our primarily concern.
Can my dog participate?
Yes, if your dog is a sled-dog animal which spent all his life in the sled facility, and you are ready to let him live at the Baker Facility.
And, unfortunately, not yet for the rest of the dogs: currently our study recruits only sled dogs, which are used to living in a pack, and therefore their accommodation at Baker facility won’t make them sad and home sick.
When will you start treating other dogs?
As soon as we get results of this study: this study was initiated to confirm that suggested treatment results in life extension and prevention of age-related diseases. We will be measuring multiple parameters associated with age-related decline including immune response, cognitive function and physical performance. We do not know yet which of those will be affected most of all. When we know that the treatment works, and what are the objective parameters indicating its efficacy – we will apply this gained knowledge for dogs of other breeds.
What if the treatment turns out unsafe?
This is very unlikely: the drug compound that we are using in this study has been used to treat severe viral infections in humans for years, and is considered safe. Moreover, as any other pharmaceutical approved to be used in humans by The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the drug which we will be using has gone through pre-clinical studies in dogs (laboratory beagles) and was proven safe.
However, the studies were conducted in healthy young beagles, not old huskies. If any of the dogs will show signs of toxicity, this animal will be immediately removed from the treatment and live happy life at the Baker Institute until its natural death.
What if there is no difference in health and lifespan of animals receiving the drug and placebo?
We might then have to admit that the our hypothesis failed. Yet, as a result of this endeavor (1) 100 dogs will retire happily and live the rest of their lives at the wonderful facility with the best care they could get; (2) multiple data collected from this study will serve as the founding ground for next studies aimed at targeting aging in dogs: to the best of our knowledge this is the largest study ever conducted in old animals of the same genetic background.