Grants - North Carolina - Designated Grants - 2019

Matthew Breen, Ph.D. & Heather Stapleton, Ph.D.

Funded by the Wine Celebration Fund-A-Need

In 2018, 81,000 people were diagnosed with bladder cancer (BC) in the US and 17,000 people died from this disease. Three of every four new cases have an early stage of disease, called non-muscle invasive bladder cancer. This type of BC is treatable, but for over half of these patients the cancer keeps coming back and so these ‘high-risk’ patients need additional treatments. Today, we do not know which patients will have their cancer return and so we need to develop a way to know in order to help them sooner. Several cancer causing chemicals are associated with BC and so to help reduce new BC cases we need to identify and remove these chemicals from our environment. A new approach is necessary to tackle BC and our group has shown that our pet dogs can help. Each year in the US, over 60,000 dogs are diagnosed with BC. In this study, our team at NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine and Duke Cancer Institute will look for shared genetic changes in canine and human BC that may provide clues to why these cancers keep returning and how to prevent them. Our dogs live with us and so we will also study whether dogs with early BC share common chemical exposures in the home. This study of canine and human BC will allow us to determine how much help our pet dogs can provide us in looking for new ways to improve BC treatment for both ourselves and for them.