Taiwan's top university Thursday opened Asia's first animal cancer research centre, aiming to serve the island's pet owners.
The centre, at the National Taiwan University in Taipei, also hopes its research into cancers affecting animals, especially cats and dogs, will contribute to cancer research and therapy for humans.
"Studies have indicated that dogs and human beings share common places in some genes," Professor Liu Chen-shuan told AFP.
Cancer has emerged as the top killer of Taiwan's "companion animals," whose average life span has increased to 11 from seven years over the past 80 years, he said.
The university's animal hospital treats up to 28,000 cats and dogs a year, with around 2,000 diagnosed with cancer.
There are about 1.6 million cats and dogs in Taiwan, but it is not clear how many die of cancer annually.