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By Kathy Stuebner, B.S., CVT, Research Coordinator, Clinical Investigation Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, and Michael S. Henson, D.V.M., Ph.D., Diplomate ACVIM (Oncology), Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Masonic Cancer Center
The University of Minnesota is a member of the Comparative Oncology Trials Consortium (COTC), a network of 20 academic comparative oncology centers that collaborate in multi-center trials managed by the Center for Cancer Research, which is part of the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health. While most COTC trials evaluate novel therapies for cancer, the main goal of this trial is to evaluate the capability of the COTC network of hospitals and laboratories around the country to collect and process samples quickly and accurately enough to be useful in personalized medicine trials in the future.
Personalized medicine involves tailoring cancer treatment and prevention to the specific molecular nature of the individual and their cancer (i.e., target the mutations that drive malignant transformation, resistance to treatment, risk for toxicity, etc.). The hope is that targeted therapies will be more effective with less risk for the patient than traditional treatments.
For personalized medicine to be useful, we need to accurately determine the molecular characteristics (genomic, proteomic, and epigenetic profile) of the patient rapidly enough for treatments to be designed and implemented for patient care, ideally in less than a week. In addition to assessing sample collection, viability, and the clinical turnaround of results, we hope that this study will identify potential therapeutic targets in specific canine malignancies to allow the design of future studies in dogs. Since canine malignancies share many characteristics with those that occur in humans, if personalized medicine is proven efficacious in dogs, the results may advance development of more efficient targeted therapies for people, too.
Once dogs are enrolled at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center, participation in the study involves a single collection of samples, specifically blood, saliva, and a biopsy of the tumor. After sample collection, owners can choose whatever treatment option is best for the family. The study pays for sample collection and provides $1,000 that can be used to cover the cost of evaluation and future expenses at the Veterinary Medical Center. At this time, we are specifically seeking golden retrievers with multicentric lymphoma, Scottish terriers with transitional cell carcinoma, and any breed of dog with oral melanoma.
This article is reprinted with permission from the University of Minnesota. It originally appears in the Summer 2011 Issue of Synergy the newsletter of the Animal Cancer Care and Research Program.
Welcome to the first podcast in our educational series “Old Dogs Rule,” a two month celebration of our great old dogs that will be packed with information about how we can keep them going strong for years to come. In this podcast we are speaking with Dr. Fred Metzger of Metzger Animal Hospital in State College, Pennsylvania. Dr. Metzger received his DVM from the Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, a select group of veterinary specialists certified by examination. He is one of only 12 board-certified ABV practitioners in the state of Pennsylvania and one of 460 nationwide. Dr. Metzger currently serves as an adjunct professor at Penn State University and helps teach several classes. In addition, he frequently lectures to fellow veterinarians nationwide speaking on various topics, including clinical pathology, internal medicine and his favorite subject, geriatric medicine. He has authored numerous publications including co-authoring a textbook “A Guide to Hematology of the Dog and Cat.” In this podcast Dr. Metzger will be discussing the health needs for senior and geriatric dogs.
This podcast was made possible thanks to the generous support of the Kenneth A. Scott Charitable Trust, A KeyBank Trust.