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NC Partners Starting Canine, Human Lymphoma Genomics Studies

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Scientists in North Carolina will collaborate to use samples from dogs with cancer to conduct genomic studies that may be applied to humans and canines, North Carolina State University said this week.

The program will use resources from NCSU's College of Veterinary Medicine in studies of non-Hodgkin lymphoma at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and at NCSU.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is biologically similar in humans and dogs, but because dogs of the same breed have far less genomic variation than humans, "it is much easier to narrow down problem areas," NCSU said.

The collaborators will recruit dogs that have been diagnosed with lymphoma in order to gather tissue samples, for which they will pay each dog's owners $1,000. These samples will be studied to create a genomic profile of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that will help researchers gain insight into the disease's biology, and potentially help them develop ways to diagnose it earlier.

"Traditionally, lymphoma researchers have used laboratory mouse models of lymphoma, but it would be advantageous to study lymphoma in a large animal model with spontaneously occurring lymphomas that more closely mimic the situation in humans," UNC geneticist and clinical oncologist Kristy Richards said in a statement. "We aim to take full advantage of this partnership to discover, develop and test new treatments much faster than could be done in either organism alone."

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