Animal Cancer Center leads partnership with Institute of Medicine

Two golden retrievers with red collars look into the distance

Colorado State University’s Flint Animal Cancer Center today announced that the National Cancer Policy Forum, part of the Institute of Medicine, the prestigious health division of the National Academies, will hold a workshop to explore issues concerning the study of companion animals with cancer to learn more about cancers in people.

Golden retriever with a red collar begins to run while outside.
Treatment of patients at the CSU Flint Animal Cancer Center contributes knowledge that improves cancer treatment for pets and people.

The Institute of Medicine workshop, entitled “The Role of Clinical Studies for Pets with Naturally Occurring Tumors in Translational Cancer Research,” was conceptualized and requested by the Flint Animal Cancer Center and the National Cancer Institute. It is co-sponsored by numerous veterinary colleges, medical schools, and other commercial and philanthropic stakeholders. The workshop will be in Washington D.C. in June 2015.

“It is not common knowledge that our animal companions who share our environment also suffer similar diseases, including some common cancers,” said Rodney Page, D.V.M., director of the Flint Animal Cancer Center. “These malignancies in pets may behave just like those that affect both children and adult humans.

“Due to the shorter lifespan of our pet dogs and cats, the time course for finding solutions to shared medical problems can be accelerated,” Page continued. “Many owners are unaware that their animals can be successfully treated, and they are even less likely to know that their pet’s treatment could potentially benefit both animal and human health.”

The Institute of Medicine workshop will be led by medical, scientific and policy leaders and will explore both the benefits and challenges of coordinating studies that aid multiple species. The workshop’s mandate is to review the pros, cons, gaps and best practices of translational clinical research.

Government regulators, medical doctors, veterinarians and other stakeholders will gather for the conference, which will span two days and will feature expert panels and audience participation. The event is free and open to the public. The Institute of Medicine will publish proceedings within a few months of the workshop.

 Flint Animal Cancer Center

Dr. Rod Page, director of the CSU Flint Animal Cancer Center, poses with a golden retriever
Dr. Rodney Page, director of the CSU center, says pets with naturally occurring cancer play a critical role in translational cancer research.

The Flint Animal Cancer Center is part of the CSU College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. It is one of the nation’s premier veterinary cancer treatment centers for companion animals, providing state-of-the art diagnostics, treatments and cures for patients worldwide. It has also been recognized for the comparative study of the spontaneously occurring cancers that occur in both animals and man.

The center has pioneered numerous surgical, radiation therapy and chemotherapy procedures for animals with cancer. More surgical, medical and radiation oncologists have been trained at CSU than at any other U.S. veterinary institution. It is the largest group in the world treating and studying naturally occurring cancer in pets; the center sees almost 1,500 new cases of animal cancer each year.

Institute of Medicine

The Institute of Medicine is an independent, nonprofit organization that works outside of government to provide unbiased and authoritative advice to decision-makers and the public. Its aim is to help those in government and the private sector make informed health decisions by providing evidence upon which they can rely.

The Institute of Medicine established the National Cancer Policy Forum to serve as a focal point and trusted venue for the engagement of national leaders to address high-priority policy issues in the nation’s effort to combat cancer. Participants represent clinicians, patients, researchers, professional and advocacy organizations, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and policy makers.

The forum’s objectives are to identify emerging high-priority policy issues in science, clinical medicine, and public health relevant to the goals of preventing and treating cancer, and to examine those issues through convening activities that promote discussion about potential opportunities for action.