Cancer Study in Dogs

Canine Health Foundation News Alert
Van Andel Research Institute Launches New Canine Cancer Studies! Your Participation is Needed in the Collection of Tumor Samples [Tuesday, June 15, 2010]

The Van Andel Research Institute, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, received a “Grand Opportunities” (GO grant) from the National Institutes of Health. This is enabling the Institute to expand its canine cancer studies, which started with a project partially funded by the Canine Health Foundation investigating hemangiosarcoma in Clumber Spaniels 18 months ago, into a much broader research program. They are launching a new center of excellence in canine genetics and genomics. The first and most important program is the Canine Hereditary Cancer Consortium (CHCC), which is headed by Drs. Jeff Trent (TGen), Nick Duesbery (Van Andel Research Institute), and Paul Meltzer (National Cancer Institute/NIH) . The program is an unprecedented alliance of scientists, veterinarians and physicians. Drs. Duesbery and Froman are intensely focused on recruiting canine cancer patients for the study through a variety of clinical outreach programs. Samples from canine patients will not only allow the researchers to identify genes responsible for breed-specific susceptibilities (such as hemangiosarcoma in Clumber Spaniels and osteosarcoma in Greyhounds), but also to translate these discoveries into new and more precise diagnostics and therapeutics for both canine and human cancer patients. The ultimate goal is to take personalized medicine for dogs to unscaled heights!

You can find more information about this program in  found in the 31st issue of Discoveries, the Canine Health Foundation newsletter.

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School Kids Raise Money for Frenchie With Cancer

French Bulldog School Counselor Recovers from Cancer

Sigmund Frog is a school counselor at Patton Elementary school in Austin, Texas. Unlike most school counselors, Sigmund works for a rather unusual pay scale — belly rubs and cookies.

Sigmund – better known as ‘Sig’ – is a brindle French Bulldog belonging to school counselor Kathy Moore. Moore discovered that kids related to her better when she brought Sig along to counseling sessions, and he’s been accompanying her to school ever since. Now, it would be unthinkable for kids to not see Sig along side Linda. In fact, some of them feel he’s a bigger part of their counseling than Moore is.

“The dog makes us happy because it, like, snuggles with us,” Spencer says.

“Good boy, Siggie,” says a student.

“Sig especially has a way of knowing when a child is really in need, and he will zero in on them,” Moore continues.

When Sigmund was diagnosed with cancer – a disease that can be prohibitively expensive to treat in dogs – the kids of Patton Elementary school insisting on helping to pay for his chemo treatments. Owner Moore was initially reluctant to accept their help, but finally relented —

“It gives the kids a stake in Sigmund getting well,” Moore says.

“I didn’t realize how important it was for them to feel like they were helping him,” Moore says.

Read the full article here.

It’s now four months later, and the kids at Patton Elementary are back at school – and so is Sigmund, his cancer almost beaten, and his chemo treatments almost over.

“We got great news that there were no reactive lymph nodes,” said Moore.  “That means there are no indications of more cancer.”

A summer long chemotherapy program helped, but Sig’s liver reacted poorly to the drugs. So, doctors tried again with a new chemo regimen and the dog responded well. There are still a couple of sessions left, but things are looking up, and Sig’s counseling appointment book is filling up.

Read the full second story here.

The students at Patton have their counselor back — and best of all, they have Sig’s shoulder to cry on, and his ear to whisper in.

His first client of the new school year is a child named Destiny. Destiny Arriaga made her way to the counselor’s office with the aid of a cane. She is blind, and though children at Patton are supportive and helpful, making one’s way in a school full of sighted kids has its pitfalls. So, Destiny has regular visits with Moore, and more to the point, with Sig.

“I love him, said Destiny. “He snuggles with me.”

Moore watches child and dog delight in each other.

Here are the two KXAN videos of Sig’s story — the first from May, and the second just released. After the jump, as the videos start playing automatically.

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