Cornell Feline Health Center

Supporting Cat Health with Information and Health Studies.

Project: Investigating a new class of anti-cancer drugs for mammary cancer in cats

Investigators: Gerlinde Van de Walle, DVM, Ph.D. and Scott Coonrod, Ph.D.

Peptidylarginine deiminases (PADs) are a family of enzymes that modify proteins that are closely associated with DNA, the inherited blueprints of life. These modifications affect how the DNA instructions are interpreted in cells but they do not create mutations in the DNA sequence itself. PADs are found at higher concentrations in human mammary cancer tumors (breast cancer tumors), a hint that they may play a role in tumor formation. Studies in mice show that when you stop PADs enzymes from working, you also stop the progression of mammary cancer. In other words, when you stop the PADs, you stop the tumor growth. These findings suggest that PAD is an important player in the development of certain types of mammary cancer and that shutting PAD down may be a way to stop tumor growth..

Recently, a particular type of PAD was found at high concentrations in both canine and feline mammary cancers, and inhibitors of PAD function stopped the grown of tumors. Our study aims to more clearly define the role of PAD in feline mammary cancer and to investigate the effects of PAD blockers on the growth of mammary cancer cells in cats.

This study has the potential to improve our understanding of how feline mammary cancer develops and also to lay the groundwork for new ways to treat mammary cancer in cats.

What we need:

Samples of both normal and cancerous feline mammary gland tissue from female cats in physiologic saline, kept at 4˙C. Ideally, tissue samples should be sectioned into 1 cubic cm pieces.

If you would like to offer a tissue sample from your cat, please fill out the mammary tissue donation form. If your sample is suitable for the study, we will contact you to make arrangements for transporting your sample to the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University.