ACF Announces Comparative Oncology Award Winners - 2015

Barbara Cohen, March 12, 2016

Animal Cancer Foundation - ACF Announces Comparative Oncology Award Winners - 2015

ACF's Board of Directors is pleased to announce the presentation of two Comparative Oncology Grant Awards for 2015 which were made possible by the generosity of our donors and benefactors.  

The first 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, for a study entitled "Resection of primary osteosarcoma terminates self-seeding and facilitates metastasis."  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 Grant 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.  

ACF's board president Matthew Vuolo welcomed the support of Petco Foundation and Blue Buffalo in support of comparative oncology research, noting "When we come together to support pet wellness initiatives such as these important research studies, we offer hope to millions of pets and pet parents who want to see better treatment and cures for pets and people with cancer."

For more information about the Petco Foundation, or the Blue Buffalo Foundation for Cancer Research, visit, or