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National Canine Cancer Foundation's Suni Fund Hemangiosarcoma Grant:

Grant No.


Principle Investigator:
Jaime F. Modiano, V.M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Immunology
University of Colorado at Denver & Health Sciences Center
School of Medicine

Project Start:

October 1, 2006

Project End:

October 1, 2009

Amount of Grant:

$250,000 each year


Innovative Molecular Targets for Prevention and Treatment of Canine Hemangiosarcoma


Canine hemangiosarcoma (HSA) is an aggressive cancer of blood vessel-lining (endothelial) cells that occurs commonly in dogs. A major reason for the death toll is that the cancer develops, progresses and spreads throughout the body for some time before clinical signs arise and alert us to its presence.

Current treatments are generally ineffective, thus, there is an urgent need to understand more about this cancer: knowing why HSA starts and what controls its progression will allow us to design and implement better strategies to prevent and treat it.

Specific genetic abnormalities identified as characteristic of specific cancers, have triggered the development of effective, non-toxic treatments for these diseases in people. The extent and identity of such abnormalities in canine cancers, including

HSA, remain unknown. For this project, we will identify genetic signatures that are associated with all HSAs, as well as those seen uniquely in specific breeds at high risk for the disease. We will then examine if these common or breedspecific abnormalities are amenable as targets for treatment or prevention, respectively. Finally, we will define the role of stem cells in this disease, to determine how these cells can be manipulated to improve patient outcomes.


Suni's Career