Morris Animal Foundation Receives $250K for Pet Cancer Research

May 2, 2019

Press release: Morris Animal Foundation

The Petco Foundation and the Blue Buffalo Company are partnering to award a $250,000 grant to Morris Animal Foundation to fuel pet cancer research, specifically directing the gift to fund feline cancer studies. Since 2003, the two organizations have invested more than $7 million in the fight against pet cancer in dogs and cats at Morris Animal Foundation, the largest worldwide nonprofit advancing animal health.

“We are deeply grateful for this meaningful gift, which will help us continue to advance cancer care,” said Tiffany Grunert, president and CEO at Morris Animal Foundation. “It is through support like this that we’re able to fund the best, most impactful studies, forging a path to a world where all cancers are treatable and more cures possible.

Cancer is a disease that impacts animals everywhere. In the United States alone, more than 12 million pets are diagnosed with cancer every year. Cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs over the age of two and the second leading cause of death in cats. Since 1962, Morris Animal Foundation has funded more than 300 cancer studies, invested nearly $40 million, and continued to make strides against the disease, thanks to generous donor support.

“Our focus is to create a better world for animals, and to help them live longer, healthier lives,” said Susanne Kogut, president of the Petco Foundation. “So, we are delighted to make this contribution to help Morris Animal Foundation fund studies for better preventives, diagnostics, and treatments for the animals we love.”

“Blue Buffalo is thrilled to partner once again with the Petco Foundation to support Morris Animal Foundation in their fight against cancer, a terrible disease that causes 50% of health-related pet deaths,” said David Petrie, vice president of the Blue Buffalo Company. “Research is expensive, and we are proud to help fund studies that will lead to better health outcomes for dogs and cats.”

With almost 60 years of cancer research to date, Morris Animal Foundation funding has led to numerous breakthroughs and advancements in cancer care animals everywhere. This latest gift will help support both current and future feline cancer research at the Foundation including:

Using New Imaging Technology to Assess Surgical Margins Following Cancer Surgery

Feline injection-site sarcoma is a highly aggressive and locally invasive tumor. In this study, researchers are evaluating a new imaging method to detect cancer cells left behind following removal of injection-site sarcomas in client-owned cats undergoing surgery. The advance will support targeted treatment management decisions and improve outcomes for cats with this devastating cancer.

Two Studies Investigating New Approaches for the Treatment of Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Oral squamous cell carcinoma is the most common oral cancer in cats and usually fatal, with fewer than 10% of diagnosed cats surviving a year after diagnosis.

In the first of two studies, researchers are evaluating a treatment that is a combination of ionizing radiation with an anticancer compound shown to have antitumor effects in vitro. In a second study, researchers are determining if small molecular inhibitors may block some of the mechanisms that drive oral tumor growth and drug resistance. What they learn may provide a new approach that will improve the long-term prognosis and quality of life for cats with this cancer.

Filling Gaps in the Feline Genome Assembly

A comprehensive, highly accurate feline genome sequence will improve the research community’s ability to identify more mutations for simple and complex diseases, including cancer, in breed and non-breed domestic cats.

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