Health-Tech

Novel research leverages AI to identify dogs at higher risk for cancer

Canine Cancer Study with Artificial Intelligence

A novel canine cancer study funded by Morris Animal Foundation and the Golden Retriever Foundation® is leveraging artificial intelligence to pioneer an innovative approach to early detection and prevention for dogs suspectable to developing diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, the most common form of this deadly cancer.  

A team of researchers at the University of Minnesota is testing a new approach coined “test and intervene,” using AI to analyze pieces of DNA fragments in blood. Findings may help identify dogs at higher risk for DLBCL. The team plans to provide pet owners and veterinarians with intervention strategies to help lower the risk in identified dogs. 

“Morris Animal Foundation is proud to continue our partnership with the Golden Retriever Foundation® and extend the impact of the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study with this important research on canine lymphoma,” said Kathy Tietje, Chief Program Officer for Morris Animal Foundation. 

“When given the opportunity to provide significant funding for this study, the Golden Retriever Foundation® was excited to be a part of LyRA (project) as well as a continued partnership with Morris Animal Foundation,” said Christine Miele, President of the Golden Retriever Foundation. “Lymphoma sadly affects about one in eight dogs and results in both expense and loss of companionship. We are looking forward to the day of early detection and the application of prevention and treatment.” 

The research team will develop the test using a comprehensive evaluation of a large group of dogs and an analysis of samples from Morris Animal Foundation’s Golden Retriever Lifetime Study to identify DNA patterns in the blood before cancer development.   

This initiative sets itself apart from similar projects by attempting to assess canine cancer risk through a Lymphoma Risk Assessment test to help veterinarians and pet owners make informed care decisions and reduce the impact of lymphoma on dogs. 

“The LyRA test will categorize dogs into low or high risk for developing this form of cancer and will guide in the creation of prevention strategies for dogs deemed high risk,” said Jaime Modiano, the study’s principal investigator and Perlman Professor of Oncology and Comparative Medicine, and the Director of Animal Cancer Care and Research Program at the University of Minnesota.   

Beyond its direct impact on dogs, this research effort could influence numerous research avenues in other mammals, including cats, endangered species and even humans, Modiano added. The approach may also provide insights into aging, cancer risk and chronic conditions, extending the study’s significance beyond companion dogs.  

“We want to be very mindful about how everything we do has the potential to promote graceful aging, not only for our domestic companions but also for other animals that make the world a place that we all want to live in,” Modiano said.  

About Morris Animal Foundation  
Morris Animal Foundation’s mission is to bridge science and resources to advance the health of animals. Founded in 1948 and headquartered in Denver, it is one of the largest nonprofit animal health research organizations in the world, funding nearly $160 million in more than 3,000 critical animal health studies to date across a broad range of species. Learn more at morrisanimalfoundation.org.  

SOURCE Morris Animal Foundation

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