December 2012 Research Project Support

Morris Animal Foundation Grant Support

Study ID D13CA-024, Assessing Recovery After Spinal Cord Injury

Principal Investigator: Dr. Sarah A. Moore, The Ohio State University
This study evaluates three sensory motor tests in dogs with spinal cord injuries. Investigators will first determine normal baseline values for each test and then evaluate each test in dogs with injuries to determine whether results correlate with the severity of clinical signs and whether the condition improves as dogs undergo treatment. Spinal Cord injuries (SCI) are prevalent in Clumber Spaniels and in Cocker Spaniels. There are no sensitive, qualitative methods available to document sensory and motor recovery in dogs with SCI. Recovery is assessed by behavioral descriptions or incomplete characterization of motor capacity. Methods to assess recovery have been established for other animal species and in this study will be applied to dogs recovering from SCI. Normal dogs will be evaluated for comparison. This work is CRITICAL for receiving funding for research proposals for any type of new therapy that may improve recovery from SCI. New therapies may improve the ability of dogs to regain the ability to walk, reduce fecal and urinary incontinence, and reduce the occurrence of urinary tract infections, pressure sores, and urine scald. Most importantly, it may improve the overall quality of life, thus reducing the incidence of euthanasia for those who do not recover after injury.


AKC Canine Health Foundation Grant Support

Study ID 01787: Clinical Advancement of a Cancer Vaccine in Dogs

Principal Investigator: Dr. Nicola J Mason, BVetMed, PhD, University of Pennsylvania

Canine lymphoma is the most common blood-based cancer in dogs with an estimated annual incidence of 30/100,000. Chemotherapy induces remission in 75-85% of patients; however, the majority of patients relapse with drug-resistant lymphoma within 8-10 months of diagnosis and most dogs die of their disease shortly thereafter. Cell-based vaccine strategies that stimulate anti-tumor immunity have shown promise in the treatment of many different cancer types including non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) in humans. In a previous study Dr. Mason developed a cell-based vaccine to induce anti-tumor immunity in dogs with NHL. Initial studies were hopeful as this early vaccine significantly prolonged second remission duration and overall survival, but ultimately the vaccine did not prevent relapse. These early findings suggest that while the lymphoma vaccine stimulated anti- tumor immunity it will require immunological boosting to achieve prolonged cancer-free survival. In the current study, Dr. Mason will optimize her cell-based vaccine approach to induce functional, long lasting tumor-specific immune responses that will prevent relapse and prolong survival in dogs with NHL.