Baker Institute for Animal Health

DEDICATED TO THE STUDY OF VETERINARY INFECTIOUS DISEASES, IMMUNOLOGY, CANCER, REPRODUCTION, GENOMICS AND EPIGENOMICS

Hemangiosarcoma Research Progresses

American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation, Inc. (CHF) awards grant to Dr. Scott Coonrod in support of his project entitled “Genome-wide molecular interrogation of canine HSA.”

September 2021 - Baker Institute Director, Scott Coonrod, the Judy Wilpon Professor of Cancer Biology, has been awarded a grant from the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation, Inc. (CHF) in support of his project entitled “Genome-wide molecular interrogation of canine HSA.”
 

Canine Hemangiosarcoma (HSA) is often called a “silent killer” because dogs with splenic forms of this disease usually do not show clinical signs until it is too late. Importantly, once at the hospital, it can be very difficult for clinicians to tell with certainty whether the mass is malignant or benign without removing the spleen (which is expensive) and performing histopathological analysis on the mass (which can take days to complete).

Given this inability to distinguish HSA from benign disease at the time of initial presentation, there is an urgent need to develop new biomarkers that can rapidly differentiate HSA from non-life threatening conditions so that owners can make informed decisions regarding the course of treatment.

The Coonrod lab has begun to analyze gene expression in HSA tumors using a novel genome-wide technique called Chromatin-Run-On sequencing (ChRO-seq) in order to better document the molecular nature of HSA. In this study, they will expand on these initial studies, made possible in part through the CHF, and now use ChRO-seq and other cutting-edge genome-wide technologies to identify gene signatures and molecular features that can then be further developed as biomarkers to rapidly differentiate HSA from benign disease. Importantly, outcomes from these studies may also speed up the development of early detection screening tools for high risk dogs and help with prognosis in dogs with HSA.

Research paper recently published in BMC Veterinary Research keeps scientist on track to diagnosing and treating “silent killer” in canines

Chromatin run-on sequencing analysis finds that ECM remodeling plays an important role in canine hemangiosarcoma pathogenesis, a research paper recently published in BMC Veterinary Research keeps scientist on track to diagnosing and treating “silent killer” in canines.

Splenic hemangiosarcoma is an aggressive vascular tumor that is often called a “silent killer” because dog owners usually do not realize that there is a problem until the tumor has ruptured internally and spread. There is an urgent need to develop new, more effective evidence-based diagnostic tools and therapies in order to catch this tumor at an earlier stage and provide better treatment options. In this paper, the Coonrod lab at the Baker Institute for Animal Health, part of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University, took a genome-wide Chro-Seq approach to better understand the molecular pathogenesis of this lethal disease so that they can identify novel tumor-specific molecules that can be developed as biomarkers and therapeutic targets. It was discovered that remodeling of extracellular matrix plays a key role in the pathogenesis of this disease, and researchers are in the process of now further validating and testing candidate molecules that have come out of their screen.

This project would not have been possible without a great team of dedicated scientists from the Baker Institute, CUHA, Tohoku University in Japan and the generous support of Baker Institute donors.

“It is my great honor to be a part of this team, and I feel so fortunate that the Baker Institute environment/community/people support research that is aimed at improving the lives of our pets,” states Chinatsu Mukai, research associate in the Coonrod Lab and first author on the paper.

(left to right: Team from the Coonrod lab including first author of the paper Chinatsu Mukai, 
research associate; Kelly Sams, lab manager; Brooke Marks, graduate student.)