Dr. Raelene Wouda
Studies in small experimental models, like the mouse, have several limitations when it comes to truly recapitulating the biologic behavior of naturally-occurring cancers in people. Companion animals possess several characteristics that make them a valid animal model of human carcinogenesis. These characteristics include comparable subject size and physiology, a shared environment and similar diet, an intact immune system. Most importantly, they have spontaneously-occurring tumors of analogous histotypes, featuring tumor heterogeneity, genomic instability, long periods of latency, a propensity for recurrence and/or metastasis, and yet a time frame of disease progression that allows more rapid accumulation of data. Such cross-species translational research can vastly benefit not only human cancer patients, but also our veterinary patients. Dr. Wouda performs pre-clinical studies and clinical trials of diagnostic procedures and anti-cancer agents in companion animals.