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The AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF) is committing more than $1.5 million in 2012 on research grants to help dogs live longer, healthier lives.
CHF approved 21 OAK grants to 14 research institutions and universities to conduct research covering canine health issues such as cataracts, carcinoma, dermatitis, epilepsy, liver disease, lymphoma, melanoma, and osteosarcoma. This year’s grants cover research of diseases affecting all dogs and specific breeds, such as Australian Shepherds, Bassett Hounds, Greyhounds, Havanese, Irish Wolfhounds, Scottish Terriers, Shetland Sheepdogs and West Highland White Terriers.
“The selection of these grants represents great potential in advancing the health of all dogs and their owners,” said CHF Chief Executive Officer and General Counsel Terry Warren. “The Foundation is dedicated to funding sound scientific research and disseminating health information that can prevent, treat and cure canine disease.”
This year CHF received 109 OAK grant proposals. Part of CHF’s two-level grant structure, the annually-awarded OAK grants are one- to two-year, in-depth research projects that examine causes, provide accurate diagnosis and prognosis and develop effective treatments for canine disease. CHF also funds short-term research throughout the year called ACORN grants, which frequently produce preliminary data for possible future OAK proposals.
The canine and human genomes are highly similar. Thus, most canine diseases also occur in humans. “Research funded by the Foundation often provides information for discoveries in human illnesses,” Warren said. “There are a number of research projects this year that have the potential to be translational from dogs to humans. As a result, we are not only helping our beloved companions, but we are helping ourselves.”
CHF has invested more than $26 million in canine health research since its inception in 1995. Funding for the CHF OAK grants comes from a variety of sources. “We are fortunate to have fantastic support from the American Kennel Club, Nestlé Purina PetCare and Pfizer Animal Health,” said Warren. “We also receive contributions from many all-breed, parent and specialty dog clubs as well as dog lovers around the world.”
CHF has a distinctive and thorough grant process. It starts with gathering information from the American Kennel Club Parent Clubs, dog owners, breeders, veterinarians, academic institutions and researchers to establish canine health research priorities. “We encourage our investigators to submit applications based on these research priorities,” explained Warren.
Researchers can submit research pre-proposals each year beginning in January. Once the pre-proposal period ends, the applications are initially reviewed by the CHF Grants Committee and often by experts in the application’s field of study. Approximately one-third of the pre-proposals are selected for the researcher to submit a full proposal. Those applications are evaluated by volunteer peer reviewers. The CHF Board of Directors and Grants Committee then make the final decisions and award grants each fall.
For more details on the 2012 CHF research grants, view the list of approved grants.
In this podcast we bring you an interview with Dr. Tim O’Brien, professor of veterinary anatomic pathology at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. O’Brien was funded by CHF to establish a laboratory-based system for understanding cancer stem cell development.
This podcast was made possible thanks to the generous support of the Kenneth A. Scott Charitable Trust, a KeyBank Trust.