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‘Simple test’ for Canine Lymphoma

One of the most aggressive and common cancers in dogs can now be routinely screened for with a simple blood test

Canine Lymphoma is one of the worst cancers in the dog population. It accounts for more than 20% of all cancers and in certain high risk breeds this figure could be considerably higher. Now a pioneering British bioscience company, PetScreen Limited has announced an innovative screening and treatment optimisation programme which is the first of its kind to be made commercially available.

The screen is inexpensive, minimally invasive and relies on a small blood sample which can be taken by any vet, and then conveniently shipped directly to PetScreen's laboratories in Nottingham from anywhere in the world using a global logistics partnership with FedEx.

PetScreen has developed the screen based on proteomic technology which has emerged from the sequencing of both the human and canine genomes. It facilitates regular, routine screening which enables cancer to be detected at a much earlier stage when, as in humans, treatment has the best chance of success.

The scientific team, led by Dr Shahid Mian, has uniquely developed advanced biomarker technology for companion animals, specifically canine at the moment. Additional cancer screens for other major canine tumours will also be announced in 2007.

By looking for a "protein fingerprint" in the blood sample, the PetScreen proteomic screen enables very accurate and sensitive detection of the tumour, but just as importantly, indicates that the dog is free of Lymphoma. The screen should therefore be regarded as part of an overall wellness programme for all breeds and provides owners with peace of mind... particularly high risk breeds, which include both Golden and Flat-Coated Retrievers, Boxers, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Spaniels and many breeds of mountain dogs. Ideally a mature pup should be screened at twelve months and then annually. For high risk breeds and dogs from middle age onwards, bi-annual screening should be considered, since six months in the life of a dog is equivalent to approximately three years in human terms.

One in four dogs will develop cancer in their lifetime. Therefore, to complement the screening technology, PetScreen has developed a novel treatment optimisation programme which helps vets select the most appropriate chemotherapy treatment for each patient.