01672-A: Isolation and Characterization of Tumor Initiating Cells in Canine Osteosarcoma Cell Lines

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $12,299.9
Dr. Heather M. Wilson, DVM, Texas A&M Research Foundation
June 1, 2011 - November 30, 2012
Sponsor(s): Weimaraner Club of America
Breed(s): -All Dogs
Research Program Area: Oncology - Osteosarcoma

Project Summary

Canine osteosarcoma (OSA) is the most common bone tumor of the dog. This tumor affects young and old large to giant breed dogs and has a spread rate of approximately 90%. The average survival time for dogs diagnosed with this disease is 12 months even with aggressive therapy. Tumor initiating cells (TICs) are the "seeds" of a tumor responsible for tumor formation, metastasis, or relapse of cancer. Surgery and chemotherapy may rid the body of 99% of the cancer cells, but it takes only one TIC left behind to regenerate the tumor. TICs tend to be difficult to target with traditional therapies due to their distinct gene expression patterns when compared to daughter cells. Therefore, due to the devastating nature of this disease, in both humans and canine patients, it is of the utmost importance to identify and characterize genes in TICS in order to develop novel therapeutic strategies to fight this cancer. With these funds, we have been able to show that a subpopulation of drug resistant tumor cells capable of surviving extremely harsh culture conditions exist within canine OSA cell lines. These cells can be enriched for and collected for further analysis. These cells express markers similar to embryonic stem cells and have similar drug resistance mechanisms as embryonic stem cells. Future studies will be aimed at targeting weaknesses in these cells that can be exploited for the benefit of client owned dogs diagnosed with OSA.

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