Animal Cancer Foundation Awards Comparative Oncology Grant to Purdue University's Dr. Deborah Knapp

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Research Designed to Transform Bladder Cancer Therapy In Pets and People

Invasive urinary bladder cancer kills more than 14,000 people and an estimated 20,000 dogs yearly in the United States.

As part of its mission to develop and support research that advances the prevention and treatment of cancer for people and pets, Animal Cancer Foundation (http://www.acfoundation.org) (ACF) has awarded a grant of $50,000 to Purdue University's Deborah W. Knapp, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVIM, the Dolores L. McCall Professor of Comparative Oncology, Dept. of Veterinary Clinical Sciences (http://www.vet.purdue.edu/pcop/). The funds support a two-year study, "Exploiting Folate Receptors To Transform Bladder Cancer Therapy."

The study, identified by the ACF Scientific Advisory Council (http://acfoundation.org/about/council.php) as one likely to move quickly to use in the clinical setting, is designed to develop new drug therapy for a highly deadly form of bladder cancer, invasive urinary bladder cancer. Invasive urinary bladder cancer (invasive transitional cell carcinoma, "InvTCC") kills more than 14,000 people and an estimated 20,000 dogs yearly in the United States. According to Dr. Knapp, "most deaths from InvTCC are due to non-resectable cancer that has become resistant to chemotherapy. Better drugs to treat InvTCC are crucially needed."

    Canine and human InvTCC have previously been shown to have similar cellular and molecular features, biologic behavior including sites and frequency of metastasis, and response to therapy. Dogs with InvTCC are a highly relevant model for the same cancer in people. The study will focus on a new drug strategy that is expected to transform the treatment of InvTCC by safely delivering a drug, tubulysin B, which has extremely potent anti tumor effects, selectively to the cancer cells by conjugating the drug to folate. Specific cancers take up much higher amounts of folate than normal cells allowing preferential delivery of folate-drug conjugates to the cancer. A multidisciplinary team with expertise in veterinary and human medical oncology, bladder cancer, imaging and pathology, and FR expression and cancer has been assembled to successfully complete the study.

     According to David C. Levine, MD, President of ACF's executive board and co-chair of the scientific advisory council, "Dr. Knapp's team presented the most convincing protocol to critically evaluate the therapeutic value of a new therapy and advance it to clinical application to improve outcomes for people and pets with this deadly form of bladder cancer. ACF is committed to supporting early funding for groundbreaking comparative oncology research."

About Animal Cancer Foundation

     Animal Cancer Foundation (ACF) is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to finding a cure for cancer by funding research in and increasing public awareness of comparative oncology, the study of naturally occurring cancers in human beings and companion animals. Founded by Gerald S. Post, DVM, Diplomate ACVIM (Oncology) in 1999, ACF is based in Norwalk, CT. ACF Comparative Oncology Grant Awards focus on investigations of research that expand current or create novel research models with an emphasis on near-term veterinary and human patient benefit and/or results that justify more significant funding from government or other biomedical research organizations.

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Barbara Cohen
Animal Cancer Foundation
877-448-3223
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