This project seeks to cure canine hemangiosarcoma through a combination of advanced diagnostics, personalized medicine, and cancer genomics.
The purpose of this project is to assess the value of precision medicine in dogs with hemangiosarcoma and validate the utility of cell-free DNA as a diagnostic test (i.e. liquid biopsy) and potentially prognostic test for the disease.
The CHAMP (Canine Hemangiosarcoma Precision Medicine and Liquid Biopsy Program) clinical trial will provide care to approximately 30 dogs with splenic hemangiosarcoma. This trial is now open at 12 Ethos practices nation-wide. We expect the first publications from this study to be available in 2018.
This care includes splenectomy, postoperative recovery, clinical follow-up exams, blood tests, and diagnostic imaging (x-ray and ultrasound). Before and during this period of care, tissue samples from the spleen and blood samples will be collected, prospectively.
Samples will undergo molecular screening, liquid biopsy, and analysis for a precision medicine treatment approach.
Novel Diagnostic Tests: A Blood Test Instead of Surgery
This project will allow early and non-invasive diagnosis of hemangiosarcoma by blood testing alone.
Liquid biopsy refers to the ability to detect tumor markers (DNA) in blood, avoiding the need for invasive and expensive biopsies. Blood samples collected in the above described clinical trial will be examined for the presence or absence of cell-free, mutated tumor DNA. This allows for development and validation of circulating hemangiosarcoma markers.
Additionally, the DNA will be compared to conventional tumor diagnostics such as x-rays and ultrasound to develop a non-invasive biomarker of disease progression.
The genomic platform to detect these tumor mutations in tissue samples has been developed; however additional laboratory studies are needed to transfer this technology to the analysis of blood samples. Based on the success of our team in conducting such studies using human samples, we expect rapid validation of this approach for dogs.
Funding for the initial phase of liquid biopsy development has been provided as a lead gift. We are now seeking matching funds to characterize the circulating DNA in affected dogs. This technology also has the potential for use in many other cancers, thus allowing the creation of a portfolio of liquid biopsy detection of cancer in dogs.
Some of the samples collected from the spleen in the above-described study will be used in the development of dog hemangiosarcoma cell lines. Cells will be cultured in a laboratory to create an immortalized line of hemangiosarcoma cancer cells, and will be used to identify new drugs that are uniquely effective against this cancer. These screening studies will be conducted by a large highly motivated collaborating research institute with extensive experience in drug screening.
Funding for this initial phase of cell line/model development has been provided as a lead gift. We are now seeking matching funds to characterize the developed cell lines for second tier drug development studies.