Research Approved to Improve Current Canine Cancer Therapies

09/15/2009

The AKC Canine Health Foundation is pleased to announce funding for two ACORN grants that are expected to improve therapies to treat canine lymphomas.  Lymphoma is the most commonly seen cancer in dogs.  Typically, animal treatment protocols are not based on scientific research; rather, information from human studies are extrapolated to veterinary medicine.  Veterinarians often determine what protocol to use based on their past experiences and the experiences of their colleagues.  The two studies listed below look to generate scientific evidence on how the drugs of current standards of care actually affect lymphoma cells, thereby providing evidence-based recommendations for canine lymphoma treatments.

ACORN 1226-A: Evalution of Multidrug Resistance Genes in Primary Canine Lymphoma Cells Exposed to Enrofoxacin and Prednisolone was recently approved for $7,190 to Dr. Annette N. Smith at Auburn University in Alabama.  This research seeks to evaluate the expression of the drug resistance gene, MDR1, in lymphoma cells in response to exposure to treatment with an antibiotic or corticosteroid.  Overexpression of this gene has been associated with a poor prognosis and a decreased survival time due to the lack of response to treatment.  If these two treatments (the antiobiotic and cortisosteroid) do in fact trigger the expression of MDR1, the management (treatment) of clinical patients with lymphoma should change.

ACORN 1344-A: Comparison of Percentage of T Regulatory Cells in Dogs with Spontaneoudsly Occurring Lymphoma Following Oral Versus Intravenous Cyclophosphamide was approved for $12,852 to Dr. Kimberly A. Selting at the University of Missouri, Columbia.  A subset of immune cells called T regulatory cells (Tregs) determines what cells belong in your body.  Tregs can prevent other immune cells from attacking cancer in the body, and are therefore thought to be detrimental to the body’s ability to fight off cancer.  This study will characterize the population of Tregs in dogs with lymphoma before they are treated, and then after they receive cyclophosphamide.  Researchers will also compare injected to oral cyclophosphamide. No study has ever appropriately compared these two ways to give cyclophosphamide to decide which is better.  By considering the effects on Tregs, the side effects and the efficacy, researchers will be able to recommend the best way to use this drug.

The AKC Canine Health Foundation has funded 27 grants valued at more than $1.7 million dealing with more effective treatments and the genetics of lymphoma.  Through this research there may one day be a way to prevent or cure this cancer that affects the entire canine community.

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