Features

January 2015 Issue




In The News: January 2015

The Hunt for Gene Defects Causing Injection-Site Cancer

In little more than a decade, changes have taken place in veterinary medicine to help prevent cats’ developing malignant tumors at the site of certain vaccinations. However, 22,000 cats in the U.S. still develop injection site-associated sarcomas (ISAS) every year, and the tumors are often more aggressive and prone to recurrence than spontaneous ones.

Distinguishing between the two types is difficult — veterinarians today have no efficient, definitive means of diagnosis. With a grant from the Morris Animal Foundation, Rachael Thomas, Ph.D., at North Carolina State University is using microarray-based technology to identify DNA-based markers that may provide the tools to identify ISAS. The technique analyzes many genes in a single reaction at a level once thought untraceable.

Dr. Thomas’ goal is twofold: to highlight cancer-associated gene defects that could be targeted in treatment and to provide data to advance cancer studies.