Funding received for 8 canine cancer research studies


Morris Animal Foundation gave 8 grants to find ways of improving the lives of dogs suffering from cancer

Creativa Images /

Creativa Images /

Morris Animal Foundation (MAF) has selected 8 new grant recipients who will receive funding for canine cancer research and progress the foundation's commitment to improve the lives of dogs suffering from cancer.1 Cancer is the leading cause of death in adult dogs2 with 50% of canines over age 10 dying from this disease.3

"We are pleased to fund this diverse set of research proposals addressing aspects of canine cancer," said Kathy Tietje, PhD, MBA, chief program officer at MAF, in the release. "The knowledge gained by these studies will advance the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of cancers in both dogs and their humans."1

The 8 recipients are:1

  • Hiroyuki Mochizuki, North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine; "Assessing Residual Cancer Cells in Aggressive T-Cell Lymphoma." This study aims to develop a novel molecular tool to assess residual cancer cell levels in dogs with aggressive T-cell lymphoma, improving treatment and disease monitoring.
  • Krit Ritthipichai, Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine; "Generating T Cells for Canine Cancer Cell Therapies." This study will create a new method to expand immune cell production for cancer cell therapies for dogs.
  • Alison Masyr, Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine; "Studying the Role of a Hormone in Pancreatic Tumors." This research will evaluate how the hormone ghrelin influences the development of canine pancreatic cancer to identify early disease biomarkers.
  • Christina Pacholec, Virginia Tech, Virigina-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine; "Using Novel Computer Tools to Detect and Monitor Lymphoma – Fellowship Training Grant." This study explores using computer imaging tools to improve post-treatment detection of cancer cells in dogs with lymphoma.
  • Heather Wilson-Robles, Ethos Discovery; “Exploring Comparative Oncology Approaches to Bone Cancer.” This study will collect and analyze lung tissue from dogs enrolled in a clinical trial for bone cancer that has spread to the lungs in hopes of discovering new ways to treat this common and aggressive canine cancer.
  • Enni Markkanen, University of Zurich; "Understanding Cellular Changes Driving Soft-tissue Sarcomas." This research will analyze the cellular landscape of soft-tissue sarcomas in dogs to identify novel therapy targets.
  • Karin Allenspach, University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine; "Predicting Immunotherapy Response in Dogs with Bladder Cancer." This study works toward developing a test to predict treatment response to immunotherapies in dogs with bladder cancer.
  • Jenny Harris, University of Surrey School of Health Sciences; "Validating Assessment Tool for Chemotherapy Outcomes." This study will validate a new questionnaire tool to help monitor symptoms and quality of life in dogs undergoing chemotherapy.

"Our study will address this huge gap of knowledge by yielding detailed insight into soft-tissue sarcoma tumors by analyzing the exact molecular fingerprint of individual cells," said Enni Markkanen, principal investigator for one of the studies approved for funding. "Such knowledge is key to enabling the development of better therapies for patients. We are highly excited about the support by Morris Animal Foundation that makes this study possible!"


  1. Morris Animal Foundation funds 8 canine cancer-focused projects. News release. Morris Animal Foundation. January 24, 2024. Accessed January 25, 2024.
  2. Fleming JM, Creevy KE, Promislow DE. Mortality in North American dogs from 1984 to 2004: an investigation into age-, size-, and breed-related causes of death. J Vet Intern Med. 2011;25(2):187-98. doi: 10.1111/j.1939-1676.2011.0695.x
  3. Beltrán Hernández I, Kromhout JZ, Teske E, Hennink WE, van Nimwegen SA, Oliveira S. Molecular targets for anticancer therapies in companion animals and humans: what can we learn from each other? Theranostics. 2021;11(8):3882-3897. doi: 10.7150/thno.55760
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