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February 1, 2017

Morris Animal Foundation, which is committed to solving the critical health problems of animals around the world, announced five newly funded studies to improve feline health. The scope of the studies covers critical health challenges—from a deadly infectious disease to cancer and more.

Through the grants, totaling nearly $568,000, the Foundation is supporting five research teams at four universities, including the University of Illinois; Colorado State University; North Carolina State University; Morrisand the University of California, Davis.

The Foundation’s Small Animal Scientific Advisory Board reviewed all submitted grant applications and selected—based on scientific merit and impact—the studies with the greatest potential to save lives, preserve health and advance veterinary care. Feline studies funded for 2017 in the 2016 grant cycle include:

  • Cancer – Researchers at the University of Illinois will investigate a new and promising treatment for oral squamous cell carcinoma, the most common oral cancer in cats.
  • Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) – Researchers at Colorado State University will study cats with a protective immune response to feline enteric coronavirus (a common intestinal virus that can mutate and cause the deadly FIP) with the aim of identifying targets for a vaccine strategy.
  • Diabetes – Researchers at the University of California, Davis, will investigate the effectiveness of a novel drug to maintain and extend diabetic remission in cats.
  • Viral infections – Researchers at North Carolina State University will use DNA sequencing technology to better understand the biological mechanisms that help cats fight off viral infections. This work is highly applicable to the development of next-generation vaccines.
  • Chronic pain – A second research team at North Carolina State University will study methods of measuring chronic pain in cats with osteoarthritis and other degenerative joint diseases to improve diagnostic and treatment strategies.

“There are very few funding sources for research into the diseases that impact our domestic cats,” said Dr. Barbara Wolfe, chief scientific officer at the Foundation. “With the announcement of these newest grants, Morris Animal Foundation continues to support critical research that will advance veterinary care for our companion cats, and help them enjoy longer, healthier lives.”

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