The Golden Retriever Foundation and Morris Animal Foundation have teamed up to announce a new major canine cancer study titled Discovery and Characterization of Heritable and Somatic Cancer Mutations in Golden Retrievers, or the MADGiC Project (Making Advanced Discoveries in Golden Cancers).
This is a three-year, $1 million project slated to start in the summer of 2010. This jointly funded project is part of Morris Animal Foundation’s Canine Cancer Campaign, a worldwide effort to prevent, treat and, ultimately, cure this disease in dogs. Learn more at CureCanineCancer.org.
The study will be led by premier canine cancer researchers Jaime Modiano, VMD, PhD, at the University of Minnesota; Matthew Breen, PhD, at North Carolina State University; and Kerstin Lindblad-Toh, PhD, at the Broad Institute of MIT and Uppsala University, Sweden. They will work together to investigate mutations that are involved in risk and progression of the two most common cancers affecting Golden Retrievers, hemangiosarcoma and lymphoma. This research will be of interest to all dog owners because these cancers affect every breed and cause the deaths of tens of thousands of dogs each year.
It is expected that this research may directly benefit humans too, because the genes involved in cancer are sometimes the same in dogs as in people, although these mutations can be more difficult to discover in people. Therefore, identifying these genes may also advance scientists’ understanding of common human cancers such as lymphoma.
In addition, researchers will seek to identify genes that predispose some dogs to cancer so that breeders may someday be able to reduce cancer risk through breeding selection. DNA tests may also be used for diagnosis and possibly to guide treatment choices in the future. The scientists will also investigate mutations that occur in the tumors themselves and will profile the susceptibility of specific tumor types to various chemotherapy compounds, which may lead to improved therapy options.
Owners of Golden Retrievers diagnosed with lymphoma or hemangiosarcoma can support this research by donating a small tumor and/or blood sample; blood samples from healthy Goldens over 12 years of age are also needed. More information about sample donation can be found at www.breenlab.org, www.modianolab.org, www.dogdna.org or contact Rhonda Hovan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-668-0044.