The Golden Retriever Foundation and Morris Animal Foundation have launched a three-year, $1 million canine cancer study that will examine cancers in Golden Retrievers. Titled “Discovery and Characterization of Heritable and Somatic Cancer Mutations in Golden Retrievers,” the study, which is slated to begin this summer, is also dubbed the MADGiC Project (Making Advanced Discoveries in Golden Cancers).
The aim of the study is to investigate mutations that are involved in risk and progression of hemangiosarcoma and lymphoma, the two most common cancers affecting Golden Retrievers. However, the research will also be of interest to all dog owners since these cancers affect every breed.
Hemangiosarcomas are a type of cancer that arises in the blood system, forming tumors that are highly malignant. Lymphoma is a form of cancer that can rapidly spread through the lymph system.
The study will also seek to identify genes that predispose some dogs to cancer so that breeders may someday be able to reduce cancer risk through breeding selection. DNA tests may also be used for diagnosis and possibly to guide treatment choices in the future, according to the two groups.
In addition, the study will investigate mutations that occur in the tumors themselves and will profile the susceptibility of specific tumor types to various chemotherapy compounds, which may lead to improved therapy options, the two groups noted.
The Golden Retriever Foundation and Morris Animal Foundation expect that this research may also directly benefit humans since the genes involved in cancer are sometimes the same in dogs as in people.
The jointly funded project is part of Morris Animal Foundation’s Canine Cancer Campaign (www.curecaninecancer.org).