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Research Abstracts Online
January 2008 - March 2009

University of Minnesota Twin Cities
College of Veterinary Medicine
Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences

PI: Jaime Modiano
Co-PI: Kevin A. T. Silverstein

Comparative Cancer Genetics

These researchers are using MSI resources for two projects. In the first, they are investigating recurrent genetic abnormalities associated with canine lymphoma. Some abnormalities occur frequently in specific tumor types, but are not influenced by breed predilections; others are not only associated with peculiar tumor types, but also occur with significantly higher frequency in Golden Retrievers. The researchers are identifying genes that map to regions that influence lymphoma risk and pathogenesis. They use array-based technologies to define gains and losses of chromosomes 14, 15, and 36 with high resolution, and to identify patterns of gene expression that are unique to Golden Retrievers and/or each tumor type. This will pinpoint candidate genes that contribute to the pathogenesis of canine lymphoma. More importantly, it will define candidates modulated by breed-specific lymphoma risk in Golden Retrievers, establishing a modality to identify other genes associated with breed-dependent risks for cancer.

The second project deals with osteosarcoma (OS), the sixth leading bone cancer in children. Despite progress in treatment, this disease remains lethal in a substantial fraction of patients. OS also occurs spontaneously in dogs, with clear predilection seen according to size (mass) and breed. The natural history of the disease in dogs and people is remarkably similar, providing a suitable first-order comparative model to address etiology and therapeutic development. The researchers hypothesize that a comparative systems approach will define distinct molecular categories for human and canine OS, where tumors in each category will be causally related and where the groups will be prognostically significant and provide a basis for target identification. Specifically, they are investigating whether chromosomal abnormalities and miRNA-mRNA interactions, as yet unexplored in OS, play a central role in the onset of tumor formation and progression.

Group Members

Megan Duckett, Staff
Amy Eickmeyer, Augsburg College, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Aric Frantz, Graduate Student
Katherine Gavin, Staff
Sarah Highfill, Staff
Daisuke Ito, Research Associate
Amy Jackson, Staff
Rita McFadden, Staff