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Studies show about 30% of dogs diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma have a mutation in a gene called PIK3CA. However, little is known how this mutation affects cells. It's also difficult to study these cells in the lab because they do not grow well outside the body. Researchers have recently artificially created cells with this mutation using the gene-editing tool CRISPR, known as “genetic scissors.” So far, the team’s studies indicate PIK3CA mutations cause the cells to produce signals that stop the immune system from attacking the cancer cells. The team also found that the mutant HSA cells significantly stopped growing when treated with a combination of a PIK3CA-targeting chemical and the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin. In this project, the team will use the new CRISPR technique to learn more about which genes are most important for survival of PIK3CA-mutant HSA cells and identify new essential genes for drug resistance in the mutant cells. The team hopes their findings on the PIK3CA mutation will lead to better patient clinical management and inform the development of effective, personalized therapies for dogs with HSA.

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University of Florida
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United States