Advancing Understanding and Treatment of Canine Cancers

Dr. Jaime Modiano, Ph.D., a College of Veterinary Medicine professor who researches how and why cancer occurs in both dogs and humans, recently added two new cell lines to the catalog of Boston-based reagent company Kerafast, helping researchers worldwide gain access to resources that will further accelerate cancer research and therapeutic development. The Office for Technology Commercialization assisted Modiano in licensing these and other cell lines.

Modiano's work is highlighted in a blog post on Kerafast's site:

Cancer is the leading cause of disease-related death in dogs, impacting our canine companions at the same rate as it affects humans. In both people and dogs, the estimated lifetime risk for cancer is approximately one in three.

In Dr. Jaime Modiano’s lab in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Minnesota, researchers are working to better understand how and why cancer occurs in both dogs and humans. They study how cancers in animals are similar to those in humans, applying what they learn from our companion pets to people and vice versa. They then translate that knowledge into the clinic, developing diagnostic tests and therapeutic tools for better cancer treatment and prevention.

Dr. Modiano joined the Kerafast program as a providing investigator in 2015, making a large selection of his lab’s canine cancer cell lines available to researchers worldwide to further accelerate cancer research and therapeutic development. This year, his lab added two new cell lines to the Kerafast catalog.

Dogs can be either purebred or mixed breed, enabling the Modiano lab to use comparative genomic strategies to identify risk factors that contribute disproportionately to cancer risk and development. For example, they identified a predilection of certain breeds to develop lymphomas with a distinct cell of origin, documented that the same mutations are responsible for the development of certain cancers in both humans and dogs, and pinpointed unique molecular signatures associated with disease progression that can be used to personalize treatment plans.

The lab also studies lymphocyte regulation, explores new approaches for cancer immunotherapy, and develops diagnostic and therapeutic agents. They have developed patented methods to prognosticate tumors and predict responses to therapy, advancing to clinical trials in companion animals. For example, the Shine On Project, currently enrolling for Phase 3, seeks to determine if a test looking for specific cells in the blood can be used to detect hemangiosarcoma in its earliest stages, before a tumor has formed.

Read the full story for more about Modiano's partnership with Kerafast.