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Evaluating a Potential Drug for Treating Malignant Tumors

Malignant histiocytic cancers (histiocytic sarcoma and malignant histiocytosis) appear to be increasing in dogs. Bernese Mountain Dogs, Flat-coated Retrievers and Rottweilers seem to have an increased risk, although any breed can be affected. Despite current treatment options, these tumors are locally aggressive, are highly metastatic and spread widely throughout the body. Nearly all cases end in death. The drug rapamycin targets a protein that regulates cell growth. Rapamycin exhibits antibiotic, immunosuppressive and antifungal properties and, in canine cancer cases, offers anti-neoplastic effects against melanoma and osteosarcoma in vitro. The drug is currently being evaluated in another Morris Animal Foundation–funded clinical trial for treating osteosarcoma in dogs. Rapamycin may also be a novel therapy for sensitive malignant histiocytic tumors. Data obtained in this study will support future clinical trials in dogs with histiocytic sarcoma and malignant histiocytosis and will potentially identify differences in highrisk breeds. In addition, this research study will provide training for an undergraduate student.

Dr. Jacqueline M. Wypij, University of Illinois

Co-sponsor: The Aura McConnell Foundation, Inc.