University of Minnesota researcher receives $432,000 grant to fight cancer in dogs

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (January 8, 2016) Jaime Modiano, V.M.D., Ph.D., professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, will be leading a team of researchers in an exciting new study to better understand and prevent hemangiosarcoma, an aggressive form of cancer in dogs.

The study is being funded by a grant from the AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing, treating and curing diseases in all dogs. Three groups whose dogs have been affected by this cruel disease --  the American Boxer Charitable Foundation, the Golden Retriever Foundation, and the Portuguese Water Dog Foundation -- are taking a unique, collaborative stand against cancer by pledging $432,000 to support this research effort.

Dr. Modiano’s project, entitled, “Early detection to target hemangiosarcoma cells in dog,” aims to pair two novel technologies consisting of a patented test to detect hemangiosarcoma cells in blood samples, and a treatment that attacks the cells that establish and maintain the disease.

According to Dr. Modiano, “Hemangiosarcoma is the cause of death for an estimated one out of every five Golden Retrievers in the United States. Portuguese Water Dogs and Boxers also have an especially high risk for this disease which is devastating for all dogs. Hemangiosarcoma is incurable partly because the cancer is detected at a very advanced stage when it is resistant to conventional therapies. Thus, an unconventional approach to improve outcomes for hemangiosarcoma patients will involve effective methods for early detection and for disease prevention.”

This project will create tools to guide further development, licensing, and deployment of new paired technologies against cancer, specifically hemangiosarcoma, with an ultimate goal for disease prevention in all dogs.

“This novel approach to a particularly aggressive form of cancer in dogs has the potential to eventually change the landscape and improve outcomes for all dogs diagnosed with this terrible disease,” said Dr. Diane Brown, CHF chief scientific officer. “The unprecedented collaboration between these three breed club foundations and their dedication to canine health has really driven this project forward – together they are making a significant difference for all dogs.”