Auburn University has received $1.4 million from the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health to study a new therapy for lymphoma in dogs.

Researchers plan to modify a nonreplicating virus, administer the virus to dogs with lymphoma, and administer a drug to the dogs. The virus will infect lymphoma cells and then encode a protein to convert the drug into a toxin to kill the cells.

Lymphoma is the third most common cancer in dogs. Average life expectancy for dogs undergoing chemotherapy is about one year. 

Without any treatment, life expectancy is about two months from the time of diagnosis.

The grant from the National Cancer Institute covers two years of laboratory work and three years of clinical trials.

Dr. Bruce Smith, with the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Scott- Ritchey Research Center, is leading the study. Auburn co- investigators include Drs. Curtis Bird, Mary Lynn Higginbotham, Annette Smith, and Elizabeth Whitley.

The Golden Retriever Club of America is pleased to announce that Golden Retrievers will be one of the pilot breeds currently eligible for participation in a new DNA database. The mapping of the canine genome is expected to have a significant impact on research activities regarding canine genetic disease, and thus there is growing interest among breed clubs and breeders to establish a DNA bank to facilitate research and future disease testing on individual dogs. In response to this evolving need, CHIC (Canine Health Information Center) and OFA have established a DNA bank and database designed to serve both breeders and researchers.


This DNA database will serve the canine research community by providing researchers with optimized family groups needed for specific research studies, and will facilitate more rapid progress in research by expediting the sample collection process. It will also allow breeders to take advantage of future DNA-based disease tests as they become available, with the ability to test both current breeding dogs, and important dogs of the past whose DNA is stored in the bank. Researchers funded by such organizations as the Canine Health Foundation and Morris Animal Foundation can apply to use this DNA for specific studies; and owners will have access to their dog’s DNA for DNA-based disease testing.


DNA databases are most useful when the DNA is linked to both a health history (including but not limited to phenotypic health “clearances”), and to a pedigree. This provides researchers with the ability to select the samples that are of interest to particular studies, by searching the database for dogs that meet specific eligibility criteria. However, all individual dogs, pedigrees, and owners will be coded for anonymity, which can be waived only by the owner. Privacy will be carefully protected according to the instructions of the owner. The owner will also be provided with an individual access code which will permit him or her to update the health history over the lifetime of the dog, since many health conditions of interest may not have developed at the time the dog was entered into the database.


DNA can be collected through either a blood sample, or by using buccal (cheek) swabs. Blood samples provide an almost unlimited supply of DNA, while buccal swabs provide adequate DNA for a number of health studies and testing, although significantly less than blood samples.


Double the Benefit!


In addition to collecting blood samples at the National for future research to be stored in the DNA bank, a current study supported by the Golden Retriever Foundation and GRCA will also be collecting blood samples at the National Specialty. This important research is being conducted at the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and is attempting to identify genes involved in osteosarcoma and other cancers in Goldens. In a cooperative effort to double the usefulness of each sample, dogs may contribute to both programs with only one blood sample, which will be shared (with the owner’s permission) between the DNA bank and the Broad Institute’s canine genomic research team.


As part of GRCA’s participation as a pilot breed, CHIC/OFA will send a representative to the 2005 National Specialty to assist with enrolling as many Goldens as possible into the database. There will be volunteers on site to draw blood or assist with buccal swab collections, and computer capability to process the dog into the database. There will be no charge to enroll a dog in the DNA database at the National Specialty! In addition, for the first 12 months, there will be no charge to enroll dogs using buccal swabs providing the dog has a CHIC certificate (see )


Your participation in this important database will assist health research for decades to come, and we urge everyone to enroll as many dogs as possible in both of these programs. Please come to the collection center on the grounds of the National Specialty on Wednesday or Thursday, September 28 or 29, and show your support for a healthier future for Golden Retrievers. Owners not attending the National are also strongly encouraged to participate in the DNA bank, with enrollment information available on the GRCA website at (link coming soon) or by writing to edziuk@offa.orgCosts are $10 using buccal swabs (free for CHIC dogs until Sept, 2006), and $25 using blood samples.


Please Spread the Word!