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DENVER/March 9, 2023 – Morris Animal Foundation today announced it is funding a new study on feline oral squamous cell carcinoma. Blue Buffalo and Canadian company Pet Valu are funding partners on the project.

The team, led by Dr. Michelle Oblak at Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Canada, will explore the use of Poryrosome nanotechnology combined with light therapy to treat oral squamous cell carcinoma in cats.

"Oral squamous cell carcinoma is a devastating disease in cats with limited treatment options," said Dr. Oblak. "This study has the potential to unlock a new nonsurgical option for cats with oral squamous cell carcinoma. With the support of Morris Animal Foundation, we are excited to investigate this novel nanotherapy, and hope we can improve the quality of life and outcomes for these cats." 

Oral squamous cell carcinoma is the most common oral cancer in cats, accounting for roughly 8% to 10% of all cancers diagnosed. The cancer spreads locally and embeds deeply into the oral tissue. The tumors make eating and drinking difficult and very painful, and complete surgical removal is rare. Chemotherapy and radiation treatments provide only temporary relief and can have significant side effects. The average survival time is a dismal three months for cats diagnosed with this cancer.

“I cannot stress how desperately new treatments are needed for this terrible cancer,” said Dr. Kathy Tietje, Vice President of Scientific Operations, Morris Animal Foundation. "If successful, this new treatment could have a major impact on the lives of hundreds of cats diagnosed with this aggressive tumor each year."

Cancer impacts animals worldwide and is a leading cause of death in senior cats. Since 1962, Morris Animal Foundation has funded more than 300 cancer studies, invested nearly $40 million, and continues to make strides against the disease, an effort which includes the generous support of organizations such as Blue Buffalo and Pet Valu.

“We are very grateful for the funding Blue Buffalo and Pet Valu are providing to make this important study possible,” added Tietje.

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, the Foundation has invested more than $149 million to date in nearly 3,000 studies to advance the health and well-being of animals around the world.

About Blue Buffalo
Blue Buffalo was founded on a promise to a loveable Airdale named Blue who struggled with cancer. The brand’s mission to “Love them like family. Feed them like family.”  has evolved into a whole new way of feeding pets. Since its founding in 2003, Blue Buffalo has always used high-quality natural ingredients with real meat first. Never any corn, wheat or soy. And no poultry by-product meals. The result is a portfolio of high-quality, natural food and treats that both dogs and cats love.

About Pet Valu
Pet Valu is Canada’s leading retailer of pet food and pet-related supplies with over 600 corporate-owned or franchised locations across the country. For more than 40 years, Pet Valu has earned the trust and loyalty of pet parents by offering knowledgeable customer service, a premium product offering and engaging in-store services. Pet Valu’s neighborhood stores offer more than 7,000 competitively priced products, including a broad assortment of premium, super premium, holistic and award-winning proprietary brands. To learn more, please visit

Media Contact:

Kelly Diehl, DVM, MS