First-in-Dog (FiDo) Cure Cancer Initiative

Clinical trial opening for dogs with mammary cancer in 2023-2024.

Read the University of Adelaide Press Release 11 May 2023 about a new trial initiative by the School of Animal & Veterinary Sciences and the Dame Roma Mitchell Cancer Research Laboratories at the University of Adelaide.

View the Channel 7 News 13 May 2023 interview  with Prof Tilley, Associate Prof Peaston and a dog owner about the value of this canine breast cancer trial.

Mammary (breast) cancers arise spontaneously in female dogs, and these are like human breast cancers in many ways. Like breast cancers in women, most canine mammary tumours are driven by the hormone estrogen. Drugs that target the estrogen receptor (ER) are prescribed for treatment of breast cancer in women, but these drugs have toxic side-effects in dogs. Hence, surgery remains standard-of-care for canine mammary cancer. However, surgery can be debilitating for a dog, is expensive, and does not eliminate cancer cells that have spread to other organs, which can ultimately result in death.  

The proposed trial investigates an exciting new medical therapy for dogs based on a ground-breaking study from the University of Adelaide showing that drugs activating the androgen receptor (AR) are an effective, durable, and well tolerated treatment strategy for ER-driven breast cancer. In humans, AR activation drugs also have positive effects on bone, muscle, and mental clarity. Our aim is to develop a safe medical treatment for mammary cancer in dogs that is affordable, improves quality of life and is also effective in treating metastatic cancers that have spread to other organs. Importantly, this study will not only benefit dogs with mammary cancer but will also inform how best to use this treatment for women with breast cancer. 

Canine mammary cancer

  • The current approach:

    • cannot treat metastases
    • expensive
    • side-effects / long recovery
    • quality of life compromised
  • A new medical therapy:

    • implanted under skin
    • block tumor growth
    • increased survival
    • prevent / treat metastasis
    • improved wellbeing

The University of Adelaide team   

A dog laying down on the floor

The team comprises researchers and animal care staff with expertise in oncology, surgery, translational research, pathology and clinical trials. It is co-led by Prof Wayne Tilley, a pioneer of sex hormone receptor action in breast and prostate cancers and Director of the Dame Roma Mitchell Cancer Research Laboratories (DRMCRL), and Assoc Prof Anne Peaston, a veterinary oncologist and clinical lead at the Roseworthy Veterinary Hospital (formerly Companion Animal Health Centre, Animal and Veterinary Sciences), Roseworthy.  

For more information email

If you are interested in the FiDo canine breast cancer clinical trial, more details about what’s involved can be found on our brochure.