Research conducted by a team of scientists and vets at the Animal Health Trust, in collaboration with the University of Liverpool could help improve the outcome for dogs with cancer.

Cutaneous mast cell tumours are the most common form of skin cancer in dogs and currently vets do not have a test that will accurately predict if a dog’s cutaneous mast cell tumour will spread or not.

The Animal Health Trust’s research, led by Dr Mike Starkey and in conjunction with our Head of Soft Tissue Surgery, Dr Kelly Bowlt Blacklock, recently published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE, has successfully identified genetic changes in cutaneous mast cell tumours that are linked to tumour spread. This information may eventually be used by vets to better determine how best to treat dogs with mast cell tumours, and may also promote the development of new treatments.

Leading on from this discovery, it will hopefully be possible – for the first time – to develop a non-invasive prognostic test which will accurately tell vets if a cutaneous mast cell tumour is likely to spread, and therefore if chemotherapy is appropriate.

The Animal Health Trust is the only charity with a dedicated canine cancer research group in the UK and this research was made possible due to extensive charitable funding, most notably from the Kennel Club Charitable Trust.

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