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Posts Tagged ‘Princeton University’

Breast Cancer And Dogs: The Next ‘Canaries In The Coal Mine’?

Posted by Erich Trapp on October 12, 2013

By Lynne Peeples, Huffington Post

(Thanks to Lynne Peeples and the Huffington Post for this article.)

When his beloved Great Pyrenees Malcolm died of bone cancer at age 6, Luke Robinson resolved to learn why.

“I didn’t even know dogs could get cancer,” he said.

The nagging mystery would send Robinson walking over 2,000 miles from Austin, Texas, to Boston with his other two dogs to raise awareness for canine cancer. It would also inspire his launch of an organization devoted to finding an answer — through the discovery of links between dog and human tumors.

“Breast cancer was the first cancer we funded,” said Robinson, co-founder of the nonprofit 2 Million Dogs . “Under a microscope, a mammary tumor from a dog and from a person look the same.”

As the prolific pink ribbons seek to remind us this month, breast cancer’s grip remains strong and its reach ever-expanding. One in eight women in the U.S. will now face the diagnosis — a rise of 40 percent in just one generation.

Perhaps less well-known, however, is that most breast cancers are not hereditary and that cancer is the leading disease-related killer of dogs, with mammary tumors the most common type afflicting females. (Early spaying significantly reduces the risk of such tumors.) These facts, combined with mounting evidence of harm posed by certain chemicals used on carpets, couches, food bowls, squeaky toys and manicured lawns enjoyed by people and pets — has led some experts and advocates to recommend a shift in breast cancer research and funding.

Only about 10 percent of breast cancer research dollars are devoted to its environmental causes, according to a federal interagency report published in February.

Luke Robinson and his two dogs, Murphy and Hudson, peer from a tent during his canine cancer awareness walk from Austin, Tex. to Boston in 2008. (Marei Burnfield)

Luke Robinson and his two dogs, Murphy and Hudson, peer from a tent during his canine cancer awareness walk from Austin, Tex. to Boston in 2008. (Marei Burnfield)

“Dogs drink our same water, they are exposed to the same toxins,” Robinson said. “The logical assumption is that indeed there is an environmental basis for these cancers. But a lot of research and funding comes from pharmaceutical companies. And there’s no money in cause and prevention.”

Overall, growing interest in canine cancer has led to new comparative oncology research at the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University, with financial help from 2 Million Dogs. Investigators are treating shelter dogs that have developed mammary cancer, while gleaning information about the progression of the disease. The researchers hope to identify treatments that will benefit both dogs and humans.

Penn veterinarians previously studied dogs involved in September 11 search and rescue missions thought to be exposed to chemicals in the rubble. They found no elevated rates of major health problems in the decade after the attack.

To read the entire article by Huffington Post, please follow this link.

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“Cancer collaboration could someday help dogs and their humans”

Posted by Erich Trapp on May 9, 2012

When being treated for cancer, Jessy, Troyanskaya’s dog, brought the Princeton researcher and Sorenmo together, launching their ongoing research collaboration. (Photo copyright by Olga Troyanskaya)

“Cancer collaboration could someday help dogs and their humans”

An extensive article from Princeton University on collaborative work in comparative oncology. 2 Million Dogs’ recent contribution to Princeton’s work has helped further this critical research.

Thanks to all our supporters and sponsors whose continued support make contributions like this possible. Through work like this, we’re closer to finding the causes of cancer in companion animals and people.

From the article posted May 7, 2012 by Catherine Zandonella: “Through the work funded by 2 Million Dogs, Troyanskaya and her team hope to find gene expression patterns that govern the transformation of a tumor from a benign to malignant state, contribute to tumor growth and govern metastasis. The investigators anticipate that their studies will be a starting point for developing diagnostic methods that veterinarians and doctors can use to predict whether a newly discovered tumor will grow slowly or rapidly. They also hope to identify novel pathways that could serve as targets of new drugs to treat cancer.”

To read the entire article and see how your contributions are supporting this valuable research, please click on this link.

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Savage Mountain

Posted by Erich Trapp on January 11, 2012

Luke Robinson and Ginger Morgan present a check to Princeton University for the The Canine Mammary Tumor Program.

by Luke Robinson

[Wednesday, January 11, 2012]  Six years ago to this day, I lost my boy Malcolm to metastatic cancer and on this anniversary, it is with tremendous honor I announce the funding of The 2 Million Dogs Foundation‘s first research initiative: A breast cancer study benefiting both humans and canines.

The 2 Million Dogs Foundation presented a check for $50,000 to Princeton University today to help fund the school’s Molecular Study of Canine Mammary Tumor Development and Progression: From Genome To Clinical Outcome.

Mammary tumors are the most common tumors in intact female dogs, and in humans, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women – approximately one in eight women develop breast cancer during their lifetime. Mammary tumors in dogs and breast cancer in women have many similarities, both in terms of risk factors and biology.

The 2 Million Dogs Foundation chose this study for the following reasons:

First and foremost, it’s translational in that people stand to significantly benefit as well as our canine companions.

Second, it’s collaborative. The Canine Mammary Tumor Program  began at The University of Pennsylvania with Dr. Karin Sorenmo whom we met while walking through Philadelphia. Collaboration, we feel, is key if we plan to make significant strides in cancer research.

Third, the tissue samples were collected from shelter dogs diagnosed with breast cancer, and they were all treated, at no expense, by UPenn as part of their program.

And finally, we feel that the approach of this study is novel, not incremental, and could potentially yield critical insights into metastatic breast cancer.

While we have donated $50,000, 2 Million Dogs has pledged to raise an additional $30,000 this year to study more tissue samples.   Click here to help us raise the additional funds needed or contact ginger@2milliondogs.org for other ways you can help.

I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the many, many people who made this day possible. My family back in Texas, our supporters, fans, and friends, both new and old, the hundreds of strangers that helped Hudson, Murphy and me get from Austin to Boston safely, the folks at 2 Million Dogs, and to Ginger Morgan, the Executive Director, who has believed in my vision since the day we walked through Memphis.

And finally, to those who had the courage to always believe. God bless you.  Keep the faith and puppy up!

Postcript

I remember standing atop Savage Mountain, the highest peak on the Rails-Trails from Pittsburgh to DC in August of 2009.  It was a glorious afternoon – a crystalline sky colored in an indescribable blue like the Frio River that cuts through the Texas hill country.  I wrote a poem about Malcolm entitled “Savage Heart” and I thought it incredibly ironic that this mountain was our highest hurdle.

As I sat perched upon a rock, reflecting on our journey, I could see for hundreds of miles.

(Reprinted from http://2dogs2000miles.blogspot.com/2012/01/savage-mountain.html)

To view the video presentation, please click here.

To view the WZBN TV coverage from Princeton, please click here.

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