Van Andel Research Institute Launches New Canine Cancer Studies
Your Participation is Needed in the Collection of Tumor Samples
The Van Andel Research Institute, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, received a "Grand Opportunities" (GO grant) from the National Institutes of Health. This is enabling the Institute to expand its canine cancer studies, which started with a project partially funded by the AKC Canine Health Foundation investigating hemangiosarcoma in Clumber spaniels 18 months ago, into a much broader research program. They are launching a new center of excellence in canine genetics and genomics. The first and most important program is the Canine Hereditary Cancer Consortium (CHCC), which is headed by Drs. Jeff Trent (TGen), Nick Duesbery (Van Andel Research Institute), and Paul Meltzer (National Cancer Institute/NIH). The program is an unprecedented alliance of scientists, veterinarians and physicians. Drs. Duesbery and Froman are intensely focused on recruiting canine cancer patients for the study through a variety of clinical outreach programs. Samples from canine patients will not only allow the researchers to identify genes responsible for breed-specific susceptibilities (such as hemangiosarcoma in Clumber spaniels and osteosarcoma in Greyhounds), but also to translate these discoveries into new and more precise diagnostics and therapeutics for both canine and human cancer patients. The ultimate goal is to take personalized medicine for dogs to unscaled heights!
You can find more information about this program in "From Bark to Bedside—Dogs Point to Cancer Culprits" found in Issue 31 of Discoveries, the AKC Canine Health Foundation newsletter.
The CHCC has been developed to investigate five initial cancers in dogs, which also affect people. The first five cancers they’ll be researching are:
- Malignant histiocytosis
- Melanoma (oral and digital)
In order to move forward, they need your help. The Institute will be studying only naturally ocurring tumors, so they need the assistance of owners with dogs who develop any of the above types of cancer. They are requesting fresh (NOT in formalin) tumor samples when the dog has surgery, a biopsy or is euthanized. They also need 3 mls of blood in an EDTA (purple top) tube. If a tumor sample is not immediately available, (a dog who has had surgery, for example), a blood sample is still useful.
If your dog is scheduled for surgery, please contact VARI ahead of time so they can FedEx a tumor collection kit to your veterinarian. You can contact the CHCC at 616.234.5569. You may also email Dr. Froman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Consent forms and more information for veterinarians can be accessed and downloaded from their website, www.vai.org/helpingdogs. In addition, they are collecting DNA samples from a wide variety of healthy, purebred dogs, for use as controls. Your help is greatly appreciated.
Help Future Generations of Dogs
Participate in canine health research by providing samples or by enrolling in a clinical trial. Samples are needed from healthy dogs and dogs affected by specific diseases.