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Evaluating a New Therapy for Feline Oral Cancer, 2011

Principal Investigator: Dr. Elizabeth A. McNiel, Michigan State University

Feline oral squamous cell carcinoma is a common cancer affecting older cats. Prognosis is poor, even with aggressive treatment involving surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Most cats die due to progressive growth of the cancer in the mouth, which causes discomfort and interferes with eating, drinking and even breathing. The failure of conventional treatments to significantly improve health or prolong life in cats affected by this cancer underscores the importance of developing new strategies to treat the disease. One such approach involves targeting the tumor blood supply. The growth of a tumor is critically dependent upon its ability to develop blood vessels, a process called angiogenesis. This study will evaluate the effectiveness of a synthetic protein in preventing growth of tumor blood vessels. If effective, this protein could lead to better treatment for this often fatal cancer.

Evaluation of Intrinsic & Acquired Chemoresistance in Canine Histiocytic Sarcoma, 2009

Principal investigator: Dr. Nikolaos G. Dervisis, Michigan State University

Canine histiocytic sarcoma is an aggressive form of cancer that is almost always fatal. The disease affects primarily Bernese mountain dogs, flat-coated retrievers and rottweilers, but others are predisposed as well. Despite rigorous efforts to identify genetic abnormalities underlying this disease, few treatment advances have been made. The researchers will focus on gene expression patterns that are associated with this cancer's resistance to chemotherapy. They intend to develop a practical test that can be used to guide future drug development for the treatment of canine histiocytic sarcoma.