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MU CVM Researcher Part of Team Receiving Funds for Groundbreaking Canine Cancer Study

July 3, 2013

A University of Missouri research study aimed at enhancing diagnosis and treatment of cancer in dogs has received a grant totaling over $400,000. Dr. Jeffrey Bryan, University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, is a leader of the project.  According to researchers, this study will have a “One Health” application, impacting both animal and human medicine.

Story by:  College of Veterinary Medicine News

The AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF) and the Golden Retriever Foundation (GRF) announced the joint funding of nearly $1.5 million in canine cancer research. The foundations worked together to select two canine cancer research projects that will potentially make real progress in the fight against canine cancer. The research results are expected to significantly improve the understanding and diagnosis of canine cancer so that dogs live longer, healthier lives. The research will be conducted through collaborative team efforts of top scientists, bringing unique synergy of talent and resources together for a greater outcome.

Receiving a grant totaling $404,813 is a research project led by Dr. Jeffrey Bryan of the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Anne Avery of Colorado State University and Dr. Heather Wilson-Robles of Texas A&M University. The study will focus on discovery of novel protein, blood and epigenetic biomarkers to enhance diagnosis and treatment of cancer in dogs.

Lymphoma strikes one in eight golden retrievers, making them one of the most commonly affected breeds. Through the investigation, the researchers expect to identify aberrant epigenetic (DNA methylation) changes in lymphoma cells to develop biomarkers of each class of lymphoma, and in turn, identify new therapy targets for affected golden retrievers. More significantly, because DNA methylation changes occur so early in the process of cancer formation, they may serve as biomarkers of risk, allowing medicine or diet to prevent lymphoma in golden retrievers before it develops. Another component of the study aims to fully phenotype cancer stem cells in lymphoma by surface markers and DNA methylation changes for the purpose of targeting cells that feed cancer metastasis. The discoveries made in each segment of the study can be combined, correlated, and translated into biomarkers of risk, diagnosis, and prognosis to advance the prevention and management of lymphoma in golden retrievers. Based on data from other species these investigators expect epigenetic changes to occur across all breeds and anticipate this study will open the door for a deeper understanding of cancer in all dogs.

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