Updated March 16, 2010
- Genetic Lymphoma Study for the Dogue de Bordeaux -
Taking DDB Health to a New Level
We are entering some very exciting times in canine health research, in particular canine cancer research. Recently human cancer researchers and geneticists have recognized that the dog serves as a good model for investigating cancer in humans. Sadly, dogs get some of the same cancers that humans get; however, they differ from humans in that their rate of cancer is much higher, while their gene pool is much smaller. With these differences in mind, it is thought that the genetic changes noted in canine cancers may allow us to find similar changes in humans more rapidly. This cross-species genetic comparison in hoped to lead to the recognition of specific gene mutations, diagnostic tests and individualized patient therapy.
As a result of the economic stimulus package, one of the
largest research grants in the history of veterinary medicine has recently been
awarded. This grant will allow for a very large collaboration between veterinary
and human researchers investigating health conditions common to dog and man. The
major recipient of this grant is the Van Andel Institute (VAI) and its various
human and veterinary medical collaborators, who will being working together to
obtain DNA samples for genetic analysis. At the moment thousands of DNA samples
are needed to start investigating diseases common to man and pure bred dogs.
Diseases of particular interest include: lymphoma, malignant melanoma,
hemangiosarcoma, osteosarcoma and histiocytic sarcoma. In addition to these
cancerous conditions, samples are also being evaluated for other health and
Why should you care?
Many of the disease conditions being evaluated through toe VAI project, called the Canine Hereditary Cancer Consortium, have been noted in the DDB. Participation in this study may allow us to address and characterize the health issues in our breed much faster than is currently possible, as these researchers are utilizing genetic technologies which until now have been cost prohibitive in veterinary medicine. Having a research group ready and willing to characterize our Dogues is a HUGE gift. While the VAI is accepting DNA samples from all pure bred dogs, it is in our dogues best interest to participate as quickly as possible, as samples are analyzed for genetic patterns associated with disease on a first-come first-serve basis. Since our breed numbers are so small compared to many others (for example Labradors), we are able to submit fewer samples than other breeds yet have a larger impact. The new blood samples we submit will allow the researchers to do a genome-wide analysis comparing the DDB and other breeds to the human genome, in hopes of locating the genes responsible for specific cancers and other health conditions.
How to participate
This year our breed clubs’ participation goal is to send in 300 DDB blood samples from healthy registered Dogue de Bordeaux. Blood samples taken at last year’ National show cannot be used, per last years consent form. Second, all newly diagnosed dogues with cancer can have a sample their fresh tumors sent to VAI for banking and analysis. All samples sent in are stored confidentially at VAI, only accessible with identification on a restricted basis. Full details and consent forms are located at www.vai.org/helpingdogs Sample submission has already started. For those of you attending our national show, I will be attending and collecting blood samples free of charge.
DDB Lymphoma Project
With the above VAI genetic studies starting, the DDB lymphoma study is now in a position to be even stronger. The genetic evaluation of new samples, in addition to the clinical information for each dogue, will allow for a thorough review of lymphoma in our breed. If your dogue is even suspected to have lymphoma during the next two years, please call me to arrange sample submission 702-875-2170 or use the instructions provided at the VAI website above. If your dogue has died from lymphoma you can still participate in the study, as biopsy samples are stored by most labs for 5-7 years. This year our goal is to get 20 fresh samples from dogues newly diagnosed with lymphoma.
Dr. MJ Hamilton, DVM, MSU
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