TGen-led canine melanoma study identifies genetic basis of disease; potential drug targets
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PHOENIX, Ariz. — Sept. 6, 2018 — As a veterinarian, Dr. Carolyn Duregger is familiar with the telltale signs of canine melanoma. So when she gave her own dog, Parker, a routine oral examination, the 1-centimeter-diameter discolored lump in the pup’s upper right gums took her breath away.

“It’s an aggressive cancer with poor prognosis that I’ve seen many times. My stomach dropped. I literally gasped,” said Dr. Duregger, recalling the moment she realized her fluffy, 9-year-old Wheaten terrier might be in big trouble.

Dr. Duregger surgically removed the cancerous lump, and started Parker on radiation and an immunotherapy drug. But these measures don’t always last, which is why she whole-heartedly supports the molecular-level precision medicine research led by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), an affiliate of City of Hope.

In the most comprehensive study of its kind, TGen and its collaborators from across the nation used multiple genomic analysis techniques to identify several gene mutations that could be the keys to what drives melanoma in dogs. Following the path from human melanoma, the findings of recurring molecular changes in canine melanoma can help veterinary physicians pinpoint potential new treatments for dogs. Likewise, human physicians will view these

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