CANCER CENTRE NEWS ARCHIVE
ADVANCING CANCER TREATMENT AND RESEARCH IN THE KENNEL CLUB CANCER CENTRE AT THE AHT
The Animal Health Trust (AHT) has successfully fulfilled its commitment to the Kennel Club and repaid, on time, an interest-free £1.5 million loan in full. The loan was given to us in 2011 to help build the pioneering Kennel Club Cancer Centre at the AHT, designed to treat dogs, cats and horses. The loan significantly accelerated the build and development time of the centre which was officially opened by HRH The Princess Royal in November 2012, just one year after the loan was received.
To date, more than 130 dogs from 20 breeds with 15 types of cancer have been treated in the Kennel Club Cancer Centre at the AHT. In total, the Centre has administered more than 1,300 doses of radiation in cancer treatment since opening, with 2015 set to be the busiest year yet as the Centre’s reputation grows and caseload increases.
As a charity known for both our specialist veterinary services and veterinary research, we have a dedicated canine cancer research programme involving clinical oncologists, molecular biologists and geneticists, working together on one site. The addition of the purpose built cancer centre, equipped with a linear accelerator, a high dose radiation therapy unit and CT scanner to administer radiotherapy treatment, has enabled us to significantly further veterinary and scientific knowledge of cancer in dogs whilst offering the full spectrum of cancer treatments; surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy from one specialist centre, which is less stressful for patients and owners.
The centre is increasing our clinical knowledge of how best to treat and diagnose cancer, with many of our clinicians undertaking peer-reviewed research projects based on their clinical observations to further veterinary medicine. At the same time, our scientists are working on research projects to better understand, and fight, the disease in dogs from all possible avenues.
Dr. Mark Vaudin, CEO of the AHT, said: “The Kennel Club were incredibly generous to give us the interest-free loan which enabled us to complete the build of the cancer centre in record time. We’re proud to repay the loan as promised and to have treated so many patients in a short space of time.
“Continued support from the Kennel Club Charitable Trust has also enabled us to make incredible progress in the last two years in our cancer research programme. We’re hopeful that in the future we’ll be even closer to developing tests which will help vets to more accurately diagnose and treat cancers in dogs.”
In the last year, AHT scientists have been evaluating whether archived tumour biopsies, normally only used by pathologists for making a diagnosis, can be useful in ‘molecular genetic’ investigations. We hope that by studying these tumour biopsies we can better understand how tumours behave.
Our study has focussed on uveal melanomas, the most common primary eye cancer, affecting all dog breeds. At present the only way to predict whether this tumour will spread is to remove an affected eye, or a significant part of an eye, for examination by a pathologist. A consequence of this is that eyes are sometimes unnecessarily removed from dogs found to have ‘benign’ tumours.
Results to date have been encouraging and we hope that the research could lead to the development of a minimally-invasive test to predict if a tumour of this kind will spread. As well as preventing the unnecessary removal of eyes unaffected by uveal melanoma, the availability of such a test would mean a patient would not have to undergo anaesthesia and surgery in order to provide a tumour biopsy.
The pilot study using uveal melanoma biopsies has been made possible through use of the GeneAtlas System, funded by the Kennel Club Charitable Trust. We are planning further studies, using this technology, to learn more about oral melanomas and mast cell tumours, two of the most common cancers in dogs. In the future our research could lead to the development of improved prognostic tests, helping clinicians to decide on the most appropriate treatment for a dog affected by one of these cancers.
Professor Steve Dean, Chairman of the Kennel Club, said: “The Kennel Club Cancer Centre at the Animal Health Trust carries out remarkable work to benefit dog health and we are glad we were able to assist by providing the loan. The number of dogs already helped by the Centre is extremely encouraging and we look forward to the further strides it is taking in terms of researching and treating cancer in dogs.
“We are thankful that the financial support provided by the Kennel Club has now been repaid and we look forward to continuing to work with the team at the AHT to further improve dog health.”
Dr Mark Vaudin, added “The Kennel Club is a fantastic partner to our vital work. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of the Breed Clubs, breeders and dog owners who give so generously, both financially and in the form of samples, to the AHT’s research. Their continued support helps us to make this progress in the fight against cancer in dogs.”
If you would like to support our cancer research, please click here to make an online donation
KENNEL CLUB CANCER CENTRE AT THE AHT MAKING PROGRESS IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CANCER
Since opening its doors in early 2013, the Kennel Club Cancer Centre at the Animal Health Trust (AHT) has treated a fifth more patients than it anticipated. More than 250 radiation doses have been administered to 30 individual dogs, from more than 15 breeds with seven different types of cancer.
Our clinical cancer team has also treated more than 150 new cancer patients and given more than 200 doses of chemotherapy. In addition, many patients seen have contributed valuable information to our ongoing cancer research programme.
Breeds which have benefitted from our clinical cancer expertise and the state-of-the-art facilities available in the new Centre, include the Border Collie, Boxer, Bull Mastiff, Doberman, English Bull Terrier, English Cocker Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel, Golden Retriever, Greyhound, Jack Russell Terrier, Labrador, Pug, Scottish Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Weimaraner and Whippet.
Sue Murphy, head of our Small Animal Centre and a Specialist in Veterinary Oncology, said: “It’s been a busy six months for the team working within the Kennel Club Cancer Centre, but the Centre is making a big difference for the animals we are seeing through our doors.
“We are now able to offer each and every patient the specific treatment for its specific cancer. Being able to combine surgery with chemotherapy and / or radiotherapy on one-site is far better and less stressful.
“In addition by treating these animals here at the AHT, we are able to gather information which will contribute to our on-going cancer research. In time these patients may indirectly help us improve cancer treatments for other dogs across the world.”
Our vets working in the Kennel Club Cancer Centre at the AHT have to date treated dogs with radiotherapy for a variety of different cancers including; squamous-cell carcinoma, soft tissue sarcoma, mast cell tumour, brain tumours, histiocytic sarcoma, epitheliotropic lymphoma and melanoma.
Benson, a five year-old Golden Retriever (pictured), was one of the first patients to be treated. He was diagnosed with a soft tissue sarcoma when he was just three years old, when a lump was found on his front right leg.
The lump was surgically removed, but two years on the lump returned. After another operation to remove the lump Benson was referred to us for radiotherapy to treat the disease left behind.
Benson needed 12 doses of radiotherapy; three a week for four weeks. Sue added: “Benson tolerated the treatment really well and only developed minimal side effects whilst receiving the treatment. He went home at weekends to be with his family and we are very pleased with his recovery.
“He now has a very good chance that his cancer has been definitively cured thanks to the radiotherapy. Having had treatment Benson now stands a much better chance of living a long, healthy life free from cancer. When we treated Benson he had a routine blood test taken to make sure he was safe to anaesthetise. His owner’s consented for the spare blood from that test to be stored. We will be able to access Benson’s DNA from this for research to help dogs in the future.
“Every cancer case we treat at the AHT contributes towards clinical and genetic research projects, helping us to better understand the disease and find ways to more accurately diagnose and treat it in the future.”
The identification of inherited risk factors for cancer in dogs is one aim of our cancer research, and studies are currently being undertaken in several breeds that appear to have a risk of developing a certain type of cancer.
Our scientists are getting closer to identifying the inherited risk factor for a common type of skin cancer, mast cell tumours, in Golden Retrievers.
By comparing the DNA from dogs with and without the cancer, the precise genetic alteration(s) which carries the risk can be identified. It is hoped that a DNA test can then be developed to easily identify dogs which carry the gene and are at an increased risk of developing a mast cell tumour.
Dogs found to have an inherited risk can be closely monitored by owners and vets for signs of the disease, which will hopefully lead to earlier diagnosis and better treatment for that animal. The genetic information can also be taken into account in breeding programmes, to limit the number of dogs developing the cancer in the future.
Steve Dean, Chairman of the Kennel Club, said: “We’re delighted to see such progress in the Kennel Club Cancer Centre. Whilst the treatment, and recovery, of individual dogs is important, it is the contribution the Centre is making to fighting cancer long-term through research which is so significant.
Research taking place now at the centre could revolutionise the treatment of cancers and even help prevent cancer in our dogs in the future, it is very exciting to be a part of this programme.”
AHT’S CRUFTS CYCLING CHALLENGE RAISES £1,000
AHT vets, scientists and fundraisers took turns cycling on the AHT stand at Crufts to raise awareness of, and vital funds for, our cancer research.
An ambitious target of 400 miles (100 miles a day) was set. Through hard work, determination and passion, the AHT team managed to cycle over 500 miles in total, smashing the target and raising an incredible £1,000 for our work!
Over the four days, 15 staff members including: Dr Mark Vaudin, Deputy Chief Executive, Dr Andrew Waller, Head of Bacteriology and Sue Murphy, Head of the Small Animal Centre, took turns to pedal for the cause.
The cyclists were supported by numerous volunteers, armed with fundraising buckets and Canine Ambassadors, to help raise awareness about cancer in dogs. The Canine Ambassadors included: Bedlington Terriers, Bull Mastiffs, Cocker Spaniels, German Shepherds, Great Danes, Italian Spinoni, Labrador Retrievers, Leonbergers, Papillons, Red Setters and a Pug called Colin!
AHT experts were also on hand in the Kennel Club’s ‘Breeding for the Future’ zone to offer advice and answer queries from dog owners. Scientists and clinicians from our inherited disease, cancer and seasonal canine illness (SCI) research groups, along with representatives from the AHT’s genetic services team, offered support to dog breeders and owners in making responsible breeding choices and improving the health of their pets.
Dr Mark Vaudin said: “Crufts is a great place to raise awareness of the vital work of the AHT, and this year we had a particular focus on our cancer research. With one in four dogs developing some form of cancer in their lifetime, it’s important that we tell people about the disease, and raise much-needed funds for our on-going cancer research projects.
“Everyone taking part did an amazing job. It’s a great achievement to have exceeded our initial target by cycling over 500 miles at Crufts. To raise so much money on top of that is the icing on the cake, and I would like to thank everyone that has donated to the cause at Crufts.”
The AHT’s Crufts stand was kitted out with two professional road bikes. One was a Victoria Pendleton series bike, which the gold medallist signed in person when she visited the stand on Friday 8 March to wish the AHT team well on their challenge. The signed Pendleton bike will feature as a raffle prize, at the AHT Dogs Sportive cycling event on Sunday 4 August being held at Lanwades Park, home of the AHT. Raffle tickets will be available from the AHT shortly.
The Dogs Sportive, in association with The British Cycling Club and the Newmarket Cycling Club, will offer three cycling routes of 25 miles, 50 miles or 80 miles to raise further funds for the AHT’s cancer research.
If you are interested in taking part, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01638 555648 for more details.
HRH THE PRINCESS ROYAL OPENS THE KENNEL CLUB CANCER CENTRE AT THE ANIMAL HEALTH TRUST
Our brand new state-of-the-art cancer treatment and research facility for animals has been opened by our President, HRH The Princess Royal.
The facility has been purpose-built to treat horses, dogs and cats with cancer. It will also assist in furthering understanding of the disease in animals.
Peter Webbon, Chief Executive of the AHT, said: “2012 marks 70years of the AHT fighting disease and injury in animals, and the addition of the Cancer Centre is a landmark achievement in our history. We believe this is the first facility of its kind in Europe, purpose-built to treat horses, dogs and cats with cancer. We now have a short commissioning process to undertake but anticipate welcoming the first patients through the doors in early 2013.”
The Kennel Club Cancer Centre at the AHT houses a linear accelerator and brachytherapy machine used in radiotherapy treatment, along with a 16-slice CT scanner to aid radiotherapy planning.
The new facility complements our existing cancer treatment options of surgery and chemotherapy meaning we will be able to offer each and every patient the very best options for their specific case, whatever the diagnosis. With one in four dogs and one in six cats developing cancer at some time in their life the new centre will help many more animals fight cancer.
KENNEL CLUB JOINS FIGHT AGAINST CANCER
The Members of the Kennel Club have agreed to give the AHT an interest-free loan of £1.5 million to help fight cancer in animals.
The loan will significantly speed up the building and development of our new cancer centre, which will be known as the Kennel Club Cancer Centre.
Sadly, as is the case in humans, cancer is a prevalent disease in dogs and cats and also effects many horses. Currently, cancer is the most common cause of death in dogs and the second most common cause in cats.
The Kennel Club Cancer Centre at the AHT will bring together the study of cancers, their causes, and hopefully aid earlier diagnosis, treatment, and the prevention of some forms of the disease.
The loan is the latest in a series of link-ups between the Kennel Club and the Animal Health Trust. The Kennel Club Charitable Trust is currently in the third year of a five year £1.2 million grant to the AHT to fund the Kennel Club Genetics Centre at the AHT, which is investigating the genetic cause of several other inherited diseases in dogs and developing DNA tests to check for these. There will be considerable synergy with this work and research into cancer.
Steve Dean, Kennel Club Chairman, said: “We are obviously delighted that our Members have agreed to this loan, which should prove invaluable in the fight against canine cancer. We have an excellent relationship with the Animal Health Trust and look forward to continuing this over the coming years.”
Dr Peter Webbon, Chief Executive of the Animal Health Trust said: “We are extremely grateful to the Kennel Club for this very generous loan, which will allow us to accelerate our investigations into the causes, diagnosis and treatment of cancer in dogs significantly.
“Cancer remains one of the biggest threats to the wellbeing of dogs, but we hope that through the new Kennel Club Cancer Centre at the AHT, we will be able to take major strides towards improving the health and welfare of not just dogs but other animals too.”
We hope the Kennel Club Cancer Centre will open in summer 2012.
JOIN THE FIGHT AGAINST CANCER HERE
The AHT has begun the development of a state-of-the-art cancer centre for animals. Our brand new facility will treat horses, dogs and cats. It also aims to further knowledge and understanding of cancer, not only in animals, but also in people.
Cancer is the most common cause of death in dogs and the second most common cause in cats. However with the right facilities, expertise and treatment it is the most curable chronic disease in these animals.
The AHT’s Cancer Centre will provide all three treatment options: surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, on one site. The cancer facility is being purpose built to treat horses, as well as dogs and cats.
Sue Murphy, Head of Clinical Cancer Treatment at the AHT, said: “Having all three treatment options on one site means that whatever the diagnosis, we will be able to offer each and every patient the very best options for their specific case. With one in four dogs and one in six cats developing cancer at some time in their life this new centre will help many more animals – from Suffolk, East Anglia and all across the UK.”
The new centre will also further research into cancer. Treating animals with all types of the disease will enable our vets and scientists to expand current knowledge about cancer. This will help with the development of new ways to diagnose and treat the disease.
Our vets and scientists already work collaboratively with cancer researchers looking at the disease in humans. There are a number of links between human and animal cancers which have already been identified. It is hoped that knowledge gained from the AHT Cancer Centre may also help in the understanding of cancer in people.
We are launching an appeal to raise much needed funds to equip the centre with a linear accelerator. This piece of specialist equipment works by delivering high-energy radiation beams to break cancerous tumours down, while sparing the surrounding normal tissue.
The AHT Cancer Centre will be one of only six veterinary facilities in the UK to house a linear accelerator.
Sue Murphy, added: “Currently, there is no way to tell which animals will, and which animals won’t, develop cancer. It could happen to any animal at any time. This new centre will give more animals a fighting chance of beating the disease, enabling them to lead long and healthy lives. The fact that treatments developed to benefit our pets may also lead to improvements in the prevention and treatment of cancer in humans makes this centre all the more important.
“I would urge you to donate whatever you can to help equip the centre. Your donation, however large or small, will help many more animals beat cancer and it may also help in the fight against cancer in people.”
If you would like to make a donation to the AHT Cancer Centre please click here.
Alternatively you can make a £5 donation by texting VETS24 £5 to 70070.