Canine Cancer Science Updates
The Morris Animal Foundation's Canine Cancer Campaign is a global effort to prevent, treat and cure cancer.
By funding more than 100 canine cancer studies, they have tacked the no. 1 killer of dogs and helped veterinarians better detect and treat the disease.
Read up on some of their current studies and learn about the progress the MAF is making to help win the war against cancer.
Progress in Dog Health:
CANCER: "Tyrosine Kinases in Canine Hemangiosarcoma" D08CA-050, Oregon State University, Dr. Stuart C. Helfand
Description: Hemangiosarcoma remains one of the deadliest canine cancers. Despite treatments such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy and surgery, dogs rarely live beyond six months after diagnosis. New approaches are needed to improve the survival time of dogs afflicted with this devastating disease. This study will expand on the research team's previous research into a novel class of drugs called tyrosine kinase inhibitors that may have the potential to control the growth of hemangiosarcoma. The results will help to clarify abnormalities that contribute to hemangiosarcoma proliferation and may ultimately lead to new treatment options for this aggressive cancer.
Update: Researchers from Oregon State University are expanding on prior Morris Animal Foundation-funded research into a novel class of drugs called tyrosine kinase inhibitors, which may have the potential to control the growth of hemangiosarcoma cells. In addition, the researchers are attempting to clarify abnormalities that contribute to hemangiosarcoma cell growth and spread. The data generated to date are exciting, novel and promising and may ultimately lead to new drug treatment options for this aggressive cancer.
CANCER: "Population Pharmakokinetics and Pharmacodynamics of Carboplatin in Dogs" D07CA-036, University of Tennessee, Dr. Tomas Martin-Jimenez
Description: As companion animals live longer, cancer has become one of the major causes of death. The goal of chemotherapy is to maximize the therapeutic response while minimizing toxic effects. Unfortunately, determining the appropriate dose that each dog needs is difficult. Factors such as age, weight and kidney function influence an animal's response to chemotherapy. This study will discover how these factors affect a dog's response to a chemotherapy commonly used to treat osteosarcoma and carcinomas. They will use this information to develop a dose calculator that would help veterinarians tailor the dose to the specific needs of individual dogs. This would provide more effective treatment and alleviate unwanted side effects.
Update: Researchers at the University of Tennessee are undertaking a bold study to develop a novel, dose calculator tool that would allow veterinarians to tailor the dose of chemotherapy to the specific needs of individual dogs. They are concentrating on the chemotherapy drug carboplatin, which is commonly used to treat osteosarcoma and various carcinomas. This long-term study is just completing its first of three years, and the researchers are hopeful that they will have preliminary analysis by mid-year 2009 that might provide enough information to adjust the doses of new patients, even before the completion of the study. This early dose adjustment has not been implemented yet, but the investigators are currently running preliminary data analysis.
CANCER: "Metastatic & Chemotherapeutic Resistance Biomarkers for Canine Osteosarcoma" D08CA-053, Colorado State University, Dr. Dawn L. Duval
Description: Large and giant dog breeds have high risk for osteosarcoma, a highly aggressive bone cancer that spreads (metastasizes) to the organs. Despite aggressive treatment with surgery followed by chemotherapy, most dogs survive less than one year after diagnosis because the cancer recurs in other bones or organs, particularly the lungs. Understanding the biological mechanisms that contribute to the disease's spread and resistance to standard therapy would help veterinary researchers develop tailored therapeutic approaches, identify new drug targets and identify common genetic features that contribute to the disease's ability to spread - all of which would help increase survival rates of dogs affected by this common cancer.
Update: Scientists from Colorado State University are studying the biological mechanisms that contribute to bone cancer's spread and resistance to standard therapy. This will help veterinary researchers identify common genetic features that contribute to the disease's ability to spread, develop tailored therapeutic approaches and identify new drug targets. To date, they have identified and validated 11 genes that could serve as biomarkers to determine whether a patient is likely to respond to standard therapies.
CANCER: "Evaluation of Intrinsic & Acquired Chemoresistance in Canine Histiocytic Sarcoma" D08CA-308, Michigan State University, Dr. Nikolaos G. Dervisis
Description: Canine histiocytic sarcoma is an aggressive form of cancer that is almost always fatal. The disease affects primarily Bernese mountain dogs, flat-coated retrievers and rottweilers, but others are predisposed as well. Despite rigorous efforts to identify genetic abnormalities underlying this disease, few treatment advances have been made. The researchers will focus on gene expression patterns that are associated with this cancer's resistance to chemotherapy. They intend to develop a practical test that can be used to guide future drug development for the treatment of canine histiocytic sarcoma.
Update: Researchers from Michigan State University are focusing on gene expression patterns that are associated with this cancer's resistance to chemotherapy. They intend to develop a practical test that can be used to guide future drug development for the treatment of this deadly cancer. Enrollment of patients has been unexpectedly slow, but the investigators are expanding their recruitment base to specialty clinics.
To find out more about canine cancer and the Morris Animal Foundation stop by their website. Visit Cure Canine Cancer to read survivor stories and learn how you can help in the fight against this horrible disease.