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News from Animal Cancer Foundation...

Animal Cancer Foundation Announces $1 Million Gift To Inaugurate Canine Cancer Genome Project

Funds Donated by The Blue Buffalo Foundation Will Help Map the Most Common Canine Cancer Genomes and Place Genomic Data in Public Domain


Norwalk, CT, October 18, 2017 – Animal Cancer Foundation (ACF), a national non-profit organization that supports comparative oncology research that studies the similarities between naturally occurring cancers in people and pets to find cures for both species, is proud to announce a $1 million dollar gift by long-time benefactor The Blue Buffalo Foundation to support the Canine Cancer Genome Project (CCGP).  The CCGP project seeks to map the tumor genomes of the most common canine cancers, a missing piece of information cancer researchers need to expedite research to benefit pets and people. 


One-in-four dogs develops naturally occurring cancer in its lifetime compared with one in three women and one in two men. The most common cancers in our pets are also very common in people, particularly children. Understanding the genetic makeup of canine cancer tumors, and comparing their genetic makeup to those of people with cancer, will allow researchers to discover additional targeted drug therapies and the least toxic doses of those therapies that are most effective in curing the individual, whether canine or human.


The initiative arose as a result of a review conducted in 2015 by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Science and supported in part by Animal Cancer Foundation that highlighted the value of comparative oncology and the inclusion of veterinary oncologists in accelerating cancer drug development.


Animal Cancer Foundation has assembled a scientific advisory council composed of leading experts in cancer genetics, drug development and comparative oncology to author a request for proposals for genomics laboratories capable of generating, analyzing and hosting the resulting data in the public domain, allowing researchers across disciplines access to refine clinical trials, and improving efficiency of drug development for all.


Animal Cancer Foundation has pledged to raise an additional $1 million in support of the project.  The fundraising effort launched October 1 and is being supported by The Blue Buffalo Foundation which has partnered with ACF to supplement the reach of the organization, especially during its May is Pet Cancer Awareness Month campaign.


“We are proud to support Animal Cancer Foundation in their important work helping to find ways to cure this terrible disease affecting pets,” said David Petrie, President, Blue Buffalo Foundation.


“We are thankful to the Blue Buffalo Foundation and their millions of donors nationwide for their support to help us further our mission.  The Canine Cancer Genome Project will help to fill a resource gap in cancer research for our beloved family members, people and pets, that are battling the disease,” said Barbara Cohen, Executive Director of Animal Cancer Foundation.  “We look forward to raising the additional funds needed to get this important genetic information into the hands of cancer researchers.”


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About The Blue Buffalo Foundation


The Blue Buffalo Foundation was established in 2004 by the founders of Blue Buffalo, a manufacturer of natural dog and cat foods under the BLUE™ brand name. In alignment with our mission of enhancing the lives of the pets who bring us so much joy, we created the Blue Buffalo Foundation. A nonprofit charitable organization, the Foundation encompasses a variety of programs intended to improve the lives of our furry friends and the pet parents who love them by funding cancer research, providing financial assistance for cancer treatments, veterinary scholarships, and support to organizations that supply service dogs to disabled military personnel. For more information visit



About Animal Cancer Foundation


Animal Cancer Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to finding novel treatment therapies and eventual cures for cancer by funding research in and increasing public awareness of comparative oncology, the study of naturally occurring cancers in pets and people to benefit both.  Founded by Gerald S. Post, DVM, MEM, Diplomate ACVIM (Oncology) in October 1999, Animal Cancer Foundation is based in Norwalk, CT.  For more information


Animal Cancer Foundation Presents Annual Research Grant to University of Utah's Joshua Schiffman, MD

Grant Supports Work With Elephant p53 (EP53) Nanoparticle Therapy for Canine Osteosarcoma and Histiocytic Sarcoma

Norwalk, CT, November 5, 2017 - Animal Cancer Foundation (ACF), a national non-profit organization that supports comparative oncology research that studies the similarities between naturally occurring cancers in people and pets to find cures for both species, is pleased to announce that its annual ACF Comparative Oncology Grant Award 2017 has been presented to Joshua Schiffman, MD, Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Utah, an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Oncological Sciences, and a member of the Division of Hematology/Oncology at Primary Children’s Medical Center.  Dr. Schiffman serves as the Medical Director of the High Risk Pediatric Cancer Clinic at Huntsman Cancer Institute where he works to discover genes that may be targeted for both prevention and treatment of childhood cancer.  Dr. Schiffman’s proposal was selected for funding through a competitive peer-review process focused on research with near-term benefit for pet patients with cancer that also emphasizes translation to human cancer patients.

For the study funded by Animal Cancer Foundation, Dr Schiffman and his co-investigators Dr. Matthew Breen, Professor of Genomics and the Oscar J. Fletcher Distinguished Professor of Comparative Oncology Genetics in the Dept. of Molecular Biomedical Sciences at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Professor Avi Schroeder of Technion Laboratory for Targeted Drug Delivery and Personalized Medicine Technology, are building on their recently described study of the discovery of extra copies of the critical tumor suppressor gene TP53 in elephants (elephant p53, EP53) and the potential of EP53 to protect elephants from developing cancer.  The funds from the grant will allow the team to test EP53 protein loaded nanoparticles for their ability to kill primary canine osteosarcoma and histiocytic sarcoma cells in vitro, as well as the effectiveness of adjuvant chemotherapy.  The study will provide the critical data necessary to move the treatment out of the laboratory and into clinical trials for the treatment of spontaneously occurring tumors in pet dogs with osteosarcoma and histiocytic sarcoma, improving outcomes for those pets.  Simultaneously, the team is focused on laying the groundwork for translation of the treatment to children and teenagers, the human population most effected by osteosarcoma. 

"Our group is very excited to receive this award. Using this funding from the Animal Cancer Foundation, we will test elephant p53 (EP53) in growing cancer cells that come from pet dogs that naturally develop their cancers. Many cancers occur in both dogs and humans, and we will focus specifically on dog sarcomas that also occur in pediatric patients. We hope that our results will advance our treatment of cancers in both family pets and human children."

"We are excited to be participating in this pioneering cancer research," said Annie Selkovits Taylor, Board of Directors President.  "It has the potential to improve treatments for, and hopefully move to cure cancer in, our two legged and four-legged family members."

Animal Cancer Foundation Announces Comparative Oncology Grant Award Winners for 2016

Norwalk, CT, September 30, 2017 - 

Animal Cancer Foundation’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce the presentation of two Comparative Oncology Grant Awards for 2016 that were made possible by the generosity of our donors and benefactors.

The first award was presented to Nicola Mason, B.Vet.Med., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medicine and Pathobiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania and co-investigator Avery Posey, PhD, Instructor in Cellular Immunotherapy, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania to build on their current work leading to the first clinical trial evaluating the safety and therapeutic effect of CD20 targeted CAR T cell therapy in client-owned dogs with relapsed B cell lymphoma.

Non Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) is the most common hematopoeitic cancer in dogs and the most common subtype is Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphomas. Veterinary oncologists are able to use combinations of cytotoxic agents to achieve clinical remission in about 75% of dogs; however, 85 to 90% relapse with lethal, drug-resistant lymphoma with 6 to 9 months of treatment.

Dr. Mason explains that the ongoing work at Penn Vet seeks a cure for canine B- cell lymphoma by using immunotherapy, treatment currently also being used in people, “This award supports our ongoing work developing genetically re- directed T cells to provide complete and durable remission in dogs with B cell lymphoma and continues the strong collaboration between the Schools of Veterinary Medicine and Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.”

A second ACF Comparative Oncology Grant Award for 2016 was presented to Stephen Ramsey, PhD; Assistant Professor, Oregon State University, School of

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Department of Biomedical Sciences and co-investigator Shay Bracha, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Oncology), Assistant Professor, Oregon State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, for a study of driver mutations in canine bladder cancer.

According to Dr. Ramsey and Dr. Bracha, “The grant will enable us to leverage the power of genomics technologies and comparative oncology to develop predictive models of how a canine malignancy will respond to chemotherapeutic treatment, based on the tumor’s molecular profile.”

ACF’s board co-Presidents Matthew Vuolo and Annie Selkovits Taylor cited the continuing support of the Petco Foundation and Blue Buffalo Foundation for Cancer Research in making possible the funding for the second grant in 2016, with Taylor noting, “collaboration of resources and information is the key to solving the puzzle of cancer treatment, and we are proud of how we have come together to support these wonderful teams of researchers.” 

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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