ACF WORKSHOP CO-SPONSORSHIP HELPS ELEVATE NATIONAL DISCUSSION OF COMPARATIVE ONCOLOGY RESEARCH
This past December 2021, ACF was honored to co-sponsor a National Academies of Sciences workshop, “The Role of Companion Animals as Sentinels for Predicting Environmental Exposure Effects on Aging and Cancer Susceptibility in Humans” that explored emerging science in canine and human genomics and the application to study of environmental carcinogens in cancer and aging. Such sponsorships by Animal Cancer Foundation are part of an intentional initiative designed to facilitate the exchange of ideas and collaborative efforts amongst cancer researchers and to elevate the national discussion of the research model.
Six years prior, ACF had co-sponsored a similar workshop, “The Role of Clinical Studies for Pets with Naturally Occurring Tumors in Translational Cancer Research”(2015) that became the impetus for many institutions, including Animal Cancer Foundation, to improve the robust genomic sequencing of canine cancer tumors to be able to pursue comparative genomic medicine and led ACF to The Canine Cancer Genome Project sponsored by Blue Buffalo Foundation.
Dr. Ned Sharpless, Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), highlighted in his keynote address at the workshop that increased focus on the companion animal model and particularly in the canine model led the NCI to create the Integrated Canine Data Commons (ICDC) to further research on human cancers by enabling comparative analysis with canine cancer.
The ICDC allows researchers like those working on CCGP to open source upload canine cancer genomic datasets for use by all cancer researchers. (ICDC : https://datacommons.cancer.gov/repository/integrated-canine-data-commons
Dr. Sharpless went on to highlight the importance of genomic sequencing for all species of cancer patient:
“…for the study of a cancer, whether that be a dog or human, or any model organism, the characterization of the somatic genome of the tumor is the state of the art and you have to do that…” LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLvjf_qOHpI
For ACF, Dr. Sharpless’ comments were particularly gratifying because the national discussion of comparative oncology research has clearly been elevated by strategic sponsorships across disciplines and institutions. But there is much more to do to sequence canine cancer genomes to enable comparative cancer genomics.
To help ACF continue to close the gap in genomic sequencing in companion animals to increase comparative genomic research