New Research into Spontaneously Occurring Cancer in Dogs Helping to Inform Human Disease


The AKC Canine Health Foundation is pleased to announce findings from CHF-funded research grant 1889-G is impacting both canine and human health.

A paper published September 16, 2015 in Genome Research by Elvers et al details results of a collaboration between eight U.S. and international institutions of veterinary and human medicine and biomedical research into spontaneously occurring cancer in dogs which can be used in developing new treatments.

“Naturally occurring cancers in dogs, who so closely share our homes and lives, prove to be invaluable targets for study that will advance our understanding of cancer in both species,” said Dr. Diane Brown, Chief Scientific Officer for the AKC Canine Health Foundation, adding, “The findings from these studies will ultimately lead to novel approaches to combating this devastating disease.

There is a growing body of evidence to substantiate the genetic and prognostic similarities between human and canine cancer. With funds provided by the AKC Canine Health Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and others, the researchers successfully defined molecular subtypes of lymphoma, a commonly diagnosed cancer in dogs, from three specific dog breeds in comparison to the same human cancer.

According to senior author Dr. Jessica Alföldi of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, “Working with the tumor DNA of golden retrievers, cocker spaniels and boxers, we have identified genes with known involvement in human lymphoma and other cancers as well as novel genes that could help in the discovery of much-needed new treatment options for cancer.”

While lymphoma is among the most common cancer in all dogs, the inherent genetic similarities between dogs of the same breed facilitate the study and identification of specific disease-causing mutations and cellular mechanisms. Such findings can then be applied to research into human cancer, thus helping to determine predisposing genetic markers for human disease at the same time. The investigators, working with samples from pet dogs, have capitalized on this scientific fact.


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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.

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