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Johnson Cancer Research Center

Dr. Raelene Wouda

Department: Clinical Sciences
Departmental Website
Center of Excellence for Translational & Comparative Oncology Research
Feature story in JCRC's 2016 Conquest magazine

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.