Pituitary-dependent hyperadrenocorticism (PDH or Cushing’s disease) is one of the most common endocrine disorders in dogs. PDH is caused by increased production of the hormone ACTH by a tumor in the pituitary gland, which in turn stimulates the adrenal gland to produce excess of the hormone cortisol. Dogs with PDH often are treated with drugs, but the most used drug only inhibits cortisol production and does not affect the pituitary tumor itself. Because the pituitary tumor can continue to grow and potentially cause neurological problems, new drugs that can inhibit growth of the pituitary tumor are vitally needed. To solve this, researchers established a novel culture model for pituitary tumors, generating miniature three-dimensional structures called organoids. Organoids are grown from stem cells and closely resemble the organ or tumor they originate from. The team will test 10 potential pituitary-targeting drugs on pituitary tumor-derived organoids to help identify new and effective treatment options for dogs with PDH.
Grant amount awarded
Karin Sanders, DVM, PhD
Endocrine/Metabolic (Diabetes, Thyroid)