First translational medicine research grant awarded
Dr. Jaime Modiano and his colleagues have been awarded the College's first Veterinary Translational Medicine research grant for the study “Ablation of tumor initiating cells by P-glycoprotein inhibition: Proof of principle in canine diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.” The study involves investigators from the University of Minnesota, Purdue University, and the University of Pennsylvania, who were awarded a grant of $228,835.
Modiano and his team propose to determine the extent to which P-glycoprotein inhibition leads to elimination of tumor-initiating cells. They will perform proof-of-principle experiments using a canine model of spontaneously occurring diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Modiano’s group has identified a population of disease-related lymphoid progenitor cells in canine DLBCL that will provide a measurable target of putative tumor-initiating cells for the study. Their central hypothesis is that the MDR1 inhibitor PSC833 will sensitize lymphoid progenitor cells to anthracycline-based chemotherapy, depleting or eliminating these cells systematically.
The review group received six other grant applications, all of which proposed the use of animal models of human disease in hypothesis-testing and translational applications. For a number of reasons, the review group elected to fund one study this first research cycle.
"The number of criteria that we required for a successful grant application was ambitious," says Dr. Robert Washabau, chair of the Veterinary Clinical Sciences Department and director of the comparative medicine program. "From the financial, scientific, and philosophical involvement of four institutions (the University of Minnesota, Purdue, Indiana University, and Eli Lilly) to the identification of an ideal companion animal model of human disease, matched to a proprietary drug of interest at a research pharmaceutical, requiring PIs and clinical caseloads at two of the institutions, with a clear translational pathway to human clinical disease in a rather narrow time-line, and potential to obtain future competitive extramural funding, it was a pretty ambitious undertaking. Very few of the applications precisely met each of the criteria, but the Modiano application was particularly compelling."