Mari Lowe Center for Comparative Oncology Research

3800 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Translational research at Penn Vet

The high-quality draft genome sequence of the dog has revealed its close phylogenetic relationship with man, emphasizing the potential benefit of studying dogs with naturally occurring diseases in identifying disease genes and evaluating response to novel therapies that will be of benefit to human and veterinary medicine alike. Nowhere is this more evident than in the field of cancer research. Many spontaneous tumors that arise in genetically outbred pet dogs mimic the biologic and behavioral characteristics of those that occur in man including pulmonary carcinoma, mammary carcinoma, osteosarcoma, malignant melanoma and lymphoma. Furthermore, pet dogs are subject to the same environmental influences on tumor initiation and progression as their human counterparts and most importantly, present with spontaneous malignancies that as in man have already evaded immune recognition or have actively suppressed anti-tumor immune responses. Thus the evaluation of novel therapeutics to fight spontaneously occurring cancer in pet dogs is likely to provide an accurate reflection of the clinical efficacy of these therapies that may then be employed on a large scale to treat both human and canine cancer patients alike. Researchers at PennVet are actively translating basic scientific discoveries in the field of canine cancer into therapies that are being evaluated in clinical trials aimed at advancing both human and canine cancer therapy.