Tag Archives: University of Wisconsin

A biological trigger for canine bone cancer?

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine have identified the biological mechanism that may give some cancer cells the ability to form tumors in dogs.

Yurtie, a canine cancer patient, in the UW Veterinary Care oncology ward.  Photo: Nik Hawkins

Yurtie, a canine cancer patient, in the UW Veterinary Care oncology ward.
Photo: Nik Hawkins

The recent study uncovered an association between the increased expression of a particular gene in tumor cells and more aggressive behavior in a form of canine bone cancer. It may also have implications for human cancers by detailing a new pathway for tumor formation.

The findings of the research have been published  in the journal Veterinary and Comparative Oncology and may eventually provide oncologists with another target for therapy and improve outcomes for canine patients with the disease.

The researchers examined cell lines generated from dogs with osteosarcoma, a common bone cancer that also affects people, with the intent of uncovering why only some cells generate tumors. After the dogs underwent tumor-removal surgery, cells from the tumors were grown in the lab.

This led to six different cancer cell lines, which were then transplanted into mice. The researchers then looked to see which lines developed tumors and which did not and studied the differences between them.

“We found several hundred genes that expressed differently between the tumor-forming and nontumor-forming cell lines,” said Timothy Stein, an assistant professor of oncology. However, one protein called frizzled-6 was present at levels eight times higher in cells that formed tumors.

“It’s exciting because it’s kind of uncharted territory,” says Stein “While we need more research to know for sure, it’s possible that frizzled-6 expression may be inhibiting a particular signaling pathway and contributing to the formation of tumor-initiating cells.”

The team’s genetic research will continue on dogs and be extended to humans.

Source:  University of Wisconsin-Madison media release

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Dogs respond to new skin allergy treatment

Dogs that would try to run the other way from allergy injections are finding a new oral drop to be much more palatable.  In fact, some dogs think they are a treat!

On 25th July,  at the World Congress of Veterinary Dermatology in Vancouver, British Columbia,  Dr Douglas DeBoer of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine presented his work which shows that placing allergy drops under a dog’s tongue can be as effective as allergy injections.

Dr DeBoer treated 217 dogs for skin allergies in his study using the drops.   Approximately 60 percent of the dogs improved significantly.  The drops require administering under the tongue twice each day.

copyright Dr Douglas DeBoer

In contrast,  allergy shots are injected approximately every 14 days.   The cost of the treatments are comparable.

Dogs can sometimes suffer a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction to allergy shots.  Even those dogs treated in the study that had previously had such a dangerous reaction did not have it when using the drops.   “Drops appear to be safer than shots in this respect,” said Dr DeBoer.

Atopic dermatitis (an itchy skin inflammation) is an allergic reaction from house dust, pollen, and mold.  Injections aim to introduce a small amount of the allergens to trigger an immune response.  The drops work on a different mechanism involved in the allergy.  Dogs that had failed to respond to allergy injections did respond to the drops.

Best of all, the drops have a sweet taste which attracted the dogs.  Some dogs came running when they heard the bottle of drops opened…