Animal Cancer Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to finding a cure for cancer by funding research in and increasing public awareness of comparative oncology, the study of naturally occurring cancers in pets and people.
In October 1999, Dr. Gerald S. Post, a distinguished veterinary oncologist, who had begun to channel funding he received from grateful patients into projects that would benefit animals in the future, formalized his vision by creating the Animal Cancer Foundation to support comparative oncology research.
Today, ACF is the leading philanthropic organization committed to funding and accelerating comparative oncology research to find a cure for the millions of pets and people affected by cancer.
Many pet parents don’t realize that our pets are diagnosed with cancer at an alarming rate, with up to 60% of many breeds developing cancer in their lifetime. Cancer is also one of the most common causes of death in our human loved ones. The most common cancers in our pets – lymphoma, bone cancer, breast cancer, bladder tumors, leukemia, brain tumors and sarcomas – are also very common in people, particularly in children.
Veterinary oncologists and medical researchers studying pet animal cancer are perhaps the single most untapped source of relevant clinical data in the fight against cancer in people. Why? Because for the first time in history the genomes of the dog, cat and human have been sequenced and the information can be utilized to investigate the similarities in the genetics of cancer in these “large animals.” These three species – dogs, cats and humans – are the only species to get spontaneously occurring cancer in the millions of cases per year. Unlike laboratory-based mouse and rat studies, these comparative oncology clinical trials are conducted by the pet’s own veterinarian, an emphasis is placed on protocols that are designed to maximize both the quantity and quality of the pet’s life and meaningful results for both pets and people can be obtained in a one to two year period.
Animal Cancer Foundation awards annual Comparative Oncology Grant Awards. Award winning comparative oncology proposals are evaluated by a scientific advisory council that makes recommendations to the executive board. Recent recipients have included teams of researchers at Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Vet, Colorado State University-Flint Animal Cancer Center, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Tufts Medical Center and Purdue University/ The organization has also funded comparative oncology meetings and symposia to bridge researchers across disciplines and species, including the NIH-NCI Comparative Melanoma Tumor Board and the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, workshop in comparative oncology and the Veterinary Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group.
As the foundation has evolved, so also has the collaboration of veterinary and human oncologists as they work to discover more effective, less toxic treatments that will decrease cancer mortality in people and pets.