Principal Investigator: Dr. Douglas H. Thamm, Colorado State University
Although remission can often be achieved with conventional chemotherapy, relapse is common and novel approaches are needed. Survivin, a protein that promotes cell growth and inhibits cell death is found in many human and canine cancers. A high level of survivin is associated with a worse outcome for dogs with lymphoma. Researchers will evaluate the safety and effectiveness of a therapeutic agent designed to inhibit the production of survivin in dogs with lymphoma. They will also evaluate how this agent affects lymphoma cell growth and death. If researchers can establish a biologically effective dose, it would provide a working dosage for future clinical trials that would combine this therapy with standard chemotherapy.
Principal Investigator: Dr. Barbara Biller, Colorado State University
Lymphoma is one of the most common cancers of dogs, accounting for an estimated 25 percent of all canine cancers. More than 8 percent of dogs die of the disease within 2 years because chemoresistance develops. Although all types of dogs can be affected, certain breeds, such as Boxers, rottweilers, Golden Retrievers and Cocker Spaniels, appear to be at greater risk. The researchers will investigate a modified antibody (IMMU-114) that effectively kills canine lymphoma cells but does not appear to result in serious side effects when administered to healthy dogs. They will work to find the best dosage and evaluate its safety and effectiveness in dogs with B-cell lymphoma. If successful, this research might provide a new treatment option for owners of dogs that develop this type of lymphoma. This antibody might also be effective in the treatment of malignant histiocytosis, a cancer commonly found in Bernese mountain Dogs. Therefore, a secondary aim of this project will be to conduct preliminary studies to determine if IMMU-114 could be effective in treating this aggressive disease.
Principal investigator: Dr. Paul Avery, Colorado State University
Lymphocytic leukemia in cats is a form of cancer where abnormal lymphocytes circulate in the blood and infiltrate the bone marrow. In other species, the severity of the disease can be predicted by knowing which type of lymphocyte is responsible for the cancer. Unfortunately, veterinarians have little information about the types of lymphocytic leukemia that occur in cats. Researchers will use techniques and tools currently used to diagnose leukemia in humans to analyze cats with elevated lymphocyte counts. They hope to determine whether the increase is due to inflammation or to leukemia and they will use the information to determine the prognosis associated with the various forms of the disease. The results will help veterinarians make more informed decisions when diagnosing and treating cats with lymphocytic leukemia.
Principal investigator: Dr. Dawn L. Duval, Colorado State University
Large and giant dog breeds have high risk for osteosarcoma, a highly aggressive bone cancer that spreads (metastasizes) to the organs. Despite aggressive treatment with surgery followed by chemotherapy, most dogs survive less than one year after diagnosis because the cancer recurs in other bones or organs, particularly the lungs. Understanding the biological mechanisms that contribute to the disease's spread and resistance to standard therapy would help veterinary researchers develop tailored therapeutic approaches, identify new drug targets and identify common genetic features that contribute to the disease's ability to spread - all of which would help increase survival rates of dogs affected by this common cancer.
Principal investigator: Dr. Anne C. Avery, Colorado State University
Canine chronic lymphocytic leukemia is a cancer of the lymphocytes that affects most dog breeds and is especially common in golden retrievers. The disease is often an incidental finding in an otherwise healthy older dog. In some cases, dogs can live for several years without treatment, but in others the dog may die within months of diagnosis. Identifying genetic markers that are able to differentiate between a leukemia with a good prognosis and one with a poor prognosis would help veterinarians better predict a patient's survival and help them make more knowledgeable treatment decisions.
Principal investigator: Dr. Susan L. Kraft, Colorado State University
Despite a good initial response to chemotherapy, affected dogs typically relapse and survive less than two years. The investigators are studying the metabolism of canine lymphoma to help identify tumor biomarkers. To do so, they will use a technology called nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. This technology led to the discovery of human tumor biomarkers that are now used for improved diagnostic specificity, prognosis, assessment of treatment response and to develop new therapeutic targets. To date, this approach hasn’t been used to study cancers in pets. Identification of these biomarkers will help predict whether a dog’s tumor will respond well to chemotherapy, how long the cancer will stay in remission, and in the future could help develop new treatments for this deadly disease.