Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine have been awarded a $500,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health that will increase our understanding about the interactions between cancer and the immune system in dogs with naturally occurring tumors. The project will study dogs that have been diagnosed with cancer at the collaborating veterinary hospitals and apply that knowledge to the understanding of human cancer.
Dr. Jonathan Levitt, associate professor of pathology & immunology at Baylor leads the project, which involves a large group of investigators, including Drs. David Wheeler and Linghua Wang in the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor.
The researchers will determine whether spontaneously arising canine organ-site tumors are sufficiently similar to those of humans to employ canine cancer as a model for trials of experimental combination therapies for human use. Another major goal of this study is to characterize the immune cells that infiltrate canine tumors and compare them with those in the respective human cancers.