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The V Foundation Announces Canine Comparative Oncology Grant Program

The V Foundation for Cancer Research, a top-rated cancer research funder, is excited to announce an innovative grant-making program to accelerate research in the field of comparative oncology. Canine comparative oncology is an evolving field of study, which enables researchers from human and veterinary medicine to explore new cancer therapies anticipating better efficacy and less toxicity for humans and man’s best friend and beloved pet.

“Through this grant program, the V Foundation is continuing its innovative and critical support of cancer research,” said Michael Kastan, Executive Director of Duke Cancer Institute. “This program will not only provide benefits to the millions of canine and human patients each year that get cancer, it will make the challenging process of identifying new approaches to cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment more efficient and effective.”

The V Foundation is working with cancer centers and veterinary colleges nationwide to make grants for canine comparative oncology with a goal of faster and less costly care for pet dogs and for humans, as well as better informed research designs. Canine tumors often share multiple characteristics with human cancers, including responses to specific therapies, making canine comparative oncology an exciting field with promising outcomes – especially in rare and pediatric cancers. Some of the most prevalent cancers diagnosed in humans and dogs include sarcomas, melanoma, lymphomas, breast and bladder cancer. Cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs, with one in four developing the disease in his or her lifetime; while for humans, it’s one in three.

“Because certain cancers are very common in dogs, and because a dog’s life is much shorter than a human’s, we have an incredible opportunity to find new treatments while helping both humans and animals,” said William Eward, M.D., a surgical oncologist at Duke Cancer Institute. “For rare cancers, like sarcoma, dogs provide us with remarkable insight. For every human child with osteosarcoma, there are at least 50 dogs with osteosarcoma. These dogs share our environment and have nearly identical immune systems. In studying dogs with sarcoma, we not only learn more about this type of cancer, we also gain a chance to help ‘man’s best friend.’”

Over the past three years, the V Foundation has awarded more than $700,000 for canine comparative oncology through a collaboration between NC State College of Veterinary Medicine and Duke Cancer Institute. The V Foundation is dedicated to making innovative grants, as more than 1 million pet dogs are treated and 1.7 million humans are diagnosed with cancer each year in the U.S.

“The V Foundation is pleased to expand our renowned grant-making expertise into this emerging field, working with outstanding scientific experts who guide our work,” said Susan Braun, Chief Executive Officer of the V Foundation.

The V Foundation can help pet dogs and humans with cancer by finding treatments and cures more quickly. Excellent veterinary medical centers are teaming up with leading cancer centers to help dogs and humans beat cancer. The V Foundation is working with advisors from five top-level vet schools and paired cancer centers to evaluate the research needs and select the best grant topics. Beneficiaries of the canine comparative oncology research approach include human patients and canine patients (and their owners). The goal is faster and less costly drug therapies, as well as better informed clinical trial designs for both species.