Morris Animal Foundation Funds New Study to Advance Osteosarcoma Treatment in Dogs

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DENVER, Jan. 13, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — A new therapeutic trial hopes to change the outcomes for dogs suffering from osteosarcoma, a deadly form of bone cancer. The study, funded by Morris Animal Foundation, will be conducted by a veterinary research team at the University of Minnesota.

Morris Animal Foundation celebrates 75 years of helping animals

Led by Dr. Jessica Lawrence, Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology, the study team’s goal is to test a novel immunotherapy first in the laboratory, and then in a select group of dogs with osteosarcoma to assess efficacy. If successful, the treatment could be a powerful new tool to treat osteosarcoma in dogs.

“Immunotherapy, or treatment that boosts the body’s immune response against cancer, is one of the most exciting recent advances in the treatment of tumors,” said Dr. Lawrence. “There are few immunotherapy options specifically for dogs; for this reason, we are incredibly grateful for support from Morris Animal Foundation to develop a new immunotherapy approach for giant-breed dogs with osteosarcoma. Osteosarcoma is good at masking itself to the body’s immune system, so it can grow and spread. We hope this work will result in a new way to boost the immune system and provide hope for pet owners and oncologists faced with this terrible cancer.”

Osteosarcoma is the most common primary bone tumor diagnosed in dogs. The cancer disproportionately affects the long bones of large- and giant-breed dogs. Current treatment regimens include limb amputation, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, but some dogs are poor candidates for surgery. Effective immunotherapy would be a welcome therapeutic option for these patients.

“New treatments are desperately needed for canine osteosarcoma, and immunotherapy treatments often have the advantage of fewer side effects,” said Dr. Kathy Tietje, Morris Animal Foundation Vice President, Scientific Operations. “This study could help improve outcomes and quality of life for dogs with osteosarcoma, particularly those that are poor surgical candidates.”

Cancer impacts animals worldwide and is a leading cause of death in dogs over the age of 2. Since 1962, Morris Animal Foundation has funded more than 300 cancer studies, invested nearly $40 million, and continues to make strides against the disease.

About Morris Animal Foundation

Morris Animal Foundation’s mission is to bridge science and resources to advance the health of animals. Founded in 1948 and headquartered in Denver, it is one of the largest nonprofit animal health research organizations in the world, funding more than $149 million in nearly 3,000 critical studies across a broad range of species. Learn more at

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SOURCE Morris Animal Foundation (MAF)

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