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Animal Cancer Foundation Announces Comparative Oncology Grant Award Winners for 2015

(Norwalk) (Nov. 30, 2015) People and their pets are finding new hope for the development of more effective, less toxic cancer therapies thanks to two Animal Cancer Foundation (ACF) Comparative Oncology Research Awards presented for 2015.    The organization announced that each $50,000 grant supports the study of pets with spontaneously occurring disease that is designed to improve and accelerate effective treatment for canine and feline cancer, while generating important data to fast-track human cancer treatment as well.  

An ACF Comparative Oncology Award was presented to Ryan D. Roberts, MD, PhD, Senior Fellow, Pediatric Hematology, Oncology & Bone Marrow Transplant, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, who is working with Helene M. LePommellet, DMV, a veterinary surgical resident at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

According to Roberts, "The grant will allow our team to determine the relative contributions of self-seeding to the metastatic process and ask whether the removal of a primary tumor might actually promote the development of lung metastasis, which is the most frequent complication of treatment."  

The team is hoping that the knowledge gained through this study will lead to development of trials aimed at disrupting the emergence of lung metastases.

Osteosarcoma currently accounts for 3% of childhood cancers, but is 10 times more frequent in dogs.

Roberts notes, “Kids and animals often develop very similar types of cancer. When pediatricians, scientists, and veterinarians work together, research can improve treatments not only for children, but for their ‘best friends’ too.”

A second ACF Comparative Oncology Award for 2015 was presented to Kristen M. Weishaar, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Oncology), Director of Clinical Trials, Flint Animal Cancer Center, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, for a Phase I evaluation of Auranofin (AF), an orally available gold complex, in the treatment of canine lymphoma.  Weisshar, who is working with co-investigators Douglas H. Thamm, VMD, DACVIM (Oncology) and Luke A. Wittenburg, DVM, PhD, DACVCP, also of Flint Animal Cancer Center, explains, "This grant allows our team to investigate the effects of AF in tumor-bearing dogs, particularly dogs with lymphoma, to establish a biologically effective dose, which has near-term benefit in the treatment of dogs and is also a translational model for human cancers, including lymphoma."

According to ACF the second award for 2015 was made possible by a Petco Foundation and Blue Buffalo Foundation for Cancer Research grant to Animal Cancer Foundation for work funding comparative oncology.  


For more information about Animal Cancer Foundation, the Petco Foundation, or the Blue Buffalo Foundation for Cancer Research, visit,, or  Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by using the hashtag #PetcoFoundation



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