December 29, 2017

JAX Lab sets canine/human cancer research

PHOTO | Contributed
PHOTO | Contributed
Dr. Kenneth Knaack, a veterinarian at Veterinary Specialists of Connecticut, collected the blood sample for the first healthy canine DNA sequence in The Jackson Laboratory's latest research program.

Maine's Jackson Laboratory has created a Farmington repository of canine tumors for researching cancer treatments in dogs and humans.

The Tallwood Canine Cancer Research Initiative (TCCRI) will operate in Farmington, working closely with so-called "veterinary centers of excellence" to obtain dog tumors containing cancers of interest to researchers. JAX will then create a biobank of cancer models that can be used in ongoing cancer research programs in hopes of accelerating cancer treatments.

JAX received a $500,000 gift for the research initiative from an anonymous Hartford-area donor.

Healthy dogs will also be compared to the ill canines as scientists work to understand cancer's roots, said Charles Lee, scientific director and professor at JAX Genomic Medicine,

"By studying specific dog breeds' genomes, we can work to identify which parts of the genome differ between breeds and could contribute to cancer," Lee said. "Subsequently, identifying corresponding regions in human genomes might potentially uncover new regulatory elements that encourage these types of cancers in humans."

The TCCRI project began last month with the collection of DNA from the first healthy canine sample – the donor family's dog, Patrick, an Irish Wolfhound.

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