AKC Canine Health Foundation and Zoetis Award Grants for Chronic Kidney Disease and Heart Disease in Dogs


The AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF), in partnership with Zoetis Inc., is pleased to announce the funding of two grants that will help accelerate novel, emerging technology in canine chronic kidney disease and heart disease. These grants, awarded from a corporate collaborative Request for Proposals (RFP), aim to better understand whether MicroRNAs can be used to accurately diagnose and predict progression of renal and heart disease, and ultimately, whether they represent potential drug targets for the amelioration of disease symptoms. MicroRNAs have emerged as important regulators of genes involved in cellular proliferation and differentiation and are now implicated in development and progression of multiple disease states.

“Foundations provide the perfect platform to facilitate strategic partnerships between academia and industry. CHF is confident that these grants will facilitate the necessary convergence of scientific expertise across animal health in the critical areas of chronic kidney disease and heart disease,” said Dr. Shila Nordone, CHF’s chief scientific officer.

Dr. Mary B. Nabity, DVM, PhD of Texas A&M AgriLife Research received a grant for $26,988 to study chronic kidney disease in dogs which is often due to glomerular diseases. Dr. Nabity aims to identify MicroRNAs associated with disease progression and to support the translation of MicroRNAs into non-invasive diagnostic tests and viable targets for future drug development. These tests would help veterinarians more appropriately treat patients and provide insight into the mechanisms that cause the diseases, leading to better therapies that slow disease progression and improve quality and length of life in dogs with chronic kidney disease.

Dr. Gerhard Wess, PhD of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen received a grant for $24,850. Dr. Wess aims to find MicroRNAs in the serum of dogs that could be used as specific diagnostic markers for mitral valve disease. Currently, diagnosis for mitral valve disease and dilated cardiomyopathy is made using echocardiography. Reliable serum markers will provide a quick and easy diagnosis for veterinarians, and may facilitate earlier intervention to improve patient outcomes.

“Our goal is to support our corporate partners by helping them reduce the risk taken in the early phase of R&D when markets are uncertain and technologies are underdeveloped. We believe that through seed funding, on a per-project basis, we can minimize the unpredictability of early R&D for our partners while providing them access to the best academicians and their unique veterinary patient populations,” said Susan Lilly, CHF CEO.

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