Wouldn’t you like your dog to help find a cure for canine lymphoma?

Looking for causes, treatments and cures for canine and human lymphoma have proven to be a long, arduous and frustrating process. But, at the end of that road, we will find the cures we are looking for, and many will be at a genomic level.

When scientists study diseases today much of their energy is spent looking at genes. According to the American Cancer Society, Genes are segments of the DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) inside each cell that tell the cell them what to do and when to grow and divide. Each gene is made up of a specific DNA sequence that contains the code (the instructions) to make a protein, each of which has a particular job or function in the body.

Dogs and people have similar gene makeup, especially in some areas of canine and human lymphomas. And, that’s where dog’s and their owners come in. Until recently most canine lymphoma studies were conducted in laboratories, cold, impersonal, sterile places offering little comfort, interaction, caring or social and physical communication. We don’t think that’s the best way to treat dogs or find cures for diseases, not anymore.

Because canine lymphoma research now focuses in great part on genetics, we can call upon both dog owners and veterinarians, along with scientists to work together to solve the genetic puzzles by identifying and understanding the functions of the genes and mutations that are the causes of canine lymphomas or participate in them. Only once we solve those puzzles, the cures for canine and human lymphomas can be found.

This blog entry is a call to action. Research starts with a premise, if this, then that. If not this, then what? In other words, scientists test their theory, and it either stands or falls on its strength or weakness based on the findings of the research. So, why not help accelerate that research.

We call on dog owners and lovers to help expedite research into canine lymphomas. We support the ideas stated by Brian W. David and Elaine A. Ostrander, authors of “Domestic Dogs and Cancer Research: A Breed-Based Genomics Approach.” In their paper, they conclude that the days of ‘maintaining dog colonies at veterinary schools is past.’ Geneticists, veterinarians, and owners can and should work together to build a highly accurate study using populations of dogs that are your pets and mine. Scientists can use the database to advance their studies, and even find new ideas that would never be found without these data. Those registered can choose when and if they would like their dog(s) to participate in any of the studies.

How would that work? Well, we should start by establishing a national database of veterinarians, dog owners, and their dogs and build registries in every area of the country. Include all the vital statistics, age, sex, breed, physical condition, environment, diet, exercise, environmental chemicals, blood type, genes, etc. We can compile what kind of dogs, how old, what they eat, how they play, exercise, exposures, illnesses, vaccines, etc. Let’s collect the data, say every three months and record it. And, then let’s make it available to scientists studying the problem.

The registry is as a database, not a solution; it’s an accelerator that will be used by scientists to find genomic (and environmental) answers regarding these diseases. At the Gerben Foundation we are ready to help, are you?