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The AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF) and Golden Retriever Foundation (GRF) have teamed up to jointly fund up to $1 million in canine cancer research. The foundations are partnering to solicit, review and ultimately select one canine cancer research project focusing on golden retrievers and potentially benefitting the health of all dogs. According to Nancy Talbott, President of the GRF, “Nearly 60% of Goldens die from cancer, a fact that has rallied the Golden Retriever community to action.”
The Request for Proposals (RFP) for the AKC Canine Health Foundation/Golden Retriever Foundation collaborative cancer grant was written as a program project grant. According to Dr. Shila Nordone, CSO of CHF, there are several unique aspects of program project grants that make them a powerful mechanism for moving research forward in a giant leap rather than in small, incremental steps. “The budget for a program project RFP is greater than in individual research grants, allowing investigators to do research that may be cost prohibitive under normal circumstances,” said Nordone. The grant will also be awarded to a team of researchers working in collaboration, rather than to an individual. This collaborative nature will be a defining aspect of the grant, creating an environment of synergy so that the sum of the effort will be greater than what could be achieved as individual, stand-alone projects. Nordone continues, “Each individual project will be meritorious on its own, ensuring that every aspect of the research program makes a major contribution to the field and resources will be shared across the research team thereby saving precious research funds.”
Talbot, of the GRF, echoes the unique opportunity presented through this grant, “The opportunity and challenge presented in the RFP is for a collaborative group of scientists to ‘dream big.’ While we recognize that the funding level may not reach that of human cancer research, it is definitely a standout grant award for canine cancer research, and we hope that it will inspire excitement in the scientific community. We hope that this level of funding commitment – directed toward multiple individual approaches that meet a unified scientific goal – will encourage development of a project that has the depth, breadth, and power to make an impressive impact to help all dogs.”
Another equally important aspect of the program project grant is that it asks for a tangible outcome. According to Nordone, “The recipient of the RFP will be expected to deliver something demonstrable so that the field of canine cancer research moves forward in a substantial way.” Examples of these ‘deliverables’ to canine health include: identification of genetic or protein-based biological markers of hemangiosarcoma or lymphoma for diagnostic and prognostic use in high-risk breeds; identification or development of canine-specific monoclonal antibody-based therapeutics in hemangiosarcoma or lymphoma; integration of tumor genotyping/phenotyping with therapeutics for the development of personalized treatment strategies; identification of novel pathways of tumor survival and points of therapeutic intervention.
Nordone considers grants submitted for the RFP that have industry partnerships or a One Health emphasis to be highly favorable. She states, “The power of early academia-industry partnerships is the availability of resources not generally available in academia and the potential for moving research from the laboratory bench to the veterinary clinic faster and more efficiently than if academia works alone. One Health efforts will help leverage the resources and expertise in human oncology, thus benefiting both the dog and humans simultaneously.”
The partnership between CHF and GRF is an exciting avenue in canine cancer research. By collaborating on the RFP, the foundations demonstrate the benefits of working together for the greater good. “Both organizations have excellent reputations in the canine cancer research community, and we believe that this joint effort will bring a synergy to the project that will benefit all dogs,” said Talbott.
To support canine cancer research visit www.akcchf.org/cancer
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.