Abstract: This study addresses the tradeoff between Vietnam’s national poultry vaccination program, which implemented an annual two-round HPAI H5N1 vaccination program for the entire geographical area of the Red River Delta during the period from 2005–2010, and an alternative vaccination program which would involve vaccination for every production cycle at the recommended poultry age in high risk areas within the Delta. The ex ante analysis framework was applied to identify the location of areas with high probability of HPAI H5N1 occurrence for the alternative vaccination program by using boosted regression trees (BRT) models, followed by weighted overlay operations. Cost-effectiveness of the vaccination programs was then estimated to measure the tradeoff between the past national poultry vaccination program and the alternative vaccination program. Ex ante analysis showed that the focus areas for the alternative vaccination program included 1137 communes, corresponding to 50.6% of total communes in the Delta, and located primarily in the coastal areas to the east and south of Hanoi. The cost-effectiveness analysis suggested that the alternative vaccination program would have been more successful in reducing the rate of disease occurrence and the total cost of vaccinations, as compared to the national poultry vaccination program.
Abstract: Conventional cytotoxic chemotherapy involving DNA-interacting agents and indiscriminate cell death is no longer the future of cancer management. While chemotherapy is not likely to completely disappear from the armamentarium; the use of targeted therapies in combination with conventional treatment is becoming the standard of care in human medicine. Tyrosine kinases are pivotal points of functional cellular pathways and have been implicated in malignancy, inflammatory, and immune-mediated diseases. Pharmaceutical interventions targeting aberrant tyrosine kinase signaling has exploded and is the second most important area of drug development. The “Valley of Death” between drug discovery and approval threatens to blunt the enormous strides in cancer management seen thus far. Kinase inhibitors, as targeted small molecules, hold promise in the treatment and diagnosis of cancer. However, there are still many unanswered questions regarding the use of kinase inhibitors in the interpretation and management of cancer. Comparative oncology has the potential to address restrictions and limitations in the advancement in kinase inhibitor therapy.
Abstract: Osteosarcoma is an aggressive primary bone tumor in humans and is among the most common cancer afflicting dogs. Despite surgical advancements and intensification of chemo- and targeted therapies, the survival outcome for osteosarcoma patients is, as of yet, suboptimal. The presence of metastatic disease at diagnosis or its recurrence after initial therapy is a major factor for the poor outcomes. It is thought that most human and canine patients have at least microscopic metastatic lesions at diagnosis. Osteosarcoma in dogs occurs naturally with greater frequency and shares many biological and clinical similarities with osteosarcoma in humans. From a genetic perspective, osteosarcoma in both humans and dogs is characterized by complex karyotypes with highly variable structural and numerical chromosomal aberrations. Similar molecular abnormalities have been observed in human and canine osteosarcoma. For instance, loss of TP53 and RB regulated pathways are common. While there are several oncogenes that are commonly amplified in both humans and dogs, such as MYC and RAS, no commonly activated proto-oncogene has been identified that could form the basis for targeted therapies. It remains possible that recurrent aberrant gene expression changes due to gene amplification or epigenetic alterations could be uncovered and these could be used for developing new, targeted therapies. However, the remarkably high genomic complexity of osteosarcoma has precluded their definitive identification. Several advantageous murine models of osteosarcoma have been generated. These include spontaneous and genetically engineered mouse models, including a model based on forward genetics and transposon mutagenesis allowing new genes and genetic pathways to be implicated in osteosarcoma development. The proposition of this review is that careful comparative genomic studies between human, canine and mouse models of osteosarcoma may help identify commonly affected and targetable pathways for alternative therapies for osteosarcoma patients. Translational research may be found through a path that begins in mouse models, and then moves through canine patients, and then human patients.
Abstract: Canine histiocytic malignancies (HM) are aggressive tumors that occur with particularly high frequency in certain breeds including Bernese mountain dogs and flat-coated retrievers. Robust diagnosis of HM commonly utilizes immunohistochemical stains that are broadly ineffective on formalin-fixed tissues; thus the diagnosis is often one of exclusion. Clinical outcomes are generally poor, with frequent metastasis and therapeutic failure lowering overall survival at time of diagnosis to an average of less than two months in the majority of published work. The limited understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying HM has hindered the development of more effective diagnostic modalities and the identification of therapeutic targets. A potential avenue exists for advancing clinical management of canine cancers through extrapolation from a close counterpart in human medicine. Historically, HM have been compared to the rare and understudied subset of human cancers involving the dendritic lineage, such as dendritic cell sarcoma or Langerhans cell sarcoma. Recent data have now thrown into question the cellular origin of HM, suggesting that the disease may originate from the macrophage lineage. This review summarizes existing knowledge of HM from the clinical, histologic and molecular perspectives, and highlights avenues for future research that may aid the development of novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. In turn, a more advanced appreciation of the mechanisms underlying HM should clarify their cellular origin and identify appropriate opportunities for synergistic extrapolation between related canine and human cancers.
Abstract: Breast cancer represents the second most frequent neoplasm in humans and sexually intact female dogs after lung and skin cancers, respectively. Many similar features in human and dog cancers including, spontaneous development, clinical presentation, tumor heterogeneity, disease progression and response to conventional therapies have supported development of this comparative model as an alternative to mice. The highly conserved similarities between canine and human genomes are also key to this comparative analysis, especially when compared to the murine genome. Studies with canine mammary tumor (CMT) models have shown a strong genetic correlation with their human counterparts, particularly in terms of altered expression profiles of cell cycle regulatory genes, tumor suppressor and oncogenes and also a large group of non-coding RNAs or microRNAs (miRNAs). Because CMTs are considered predictive intermediate models for human breast cancer, similarities in genetic alterations and cancer predisposition between humans and dogs have raised further interest. Many cancer-associated genetic defects critical to mammary tumor development and oncogenic determinants of metastasis have been reported and appear to be similar in both species. Comparative analysis of deregulated gene sets or cancer signaling pathways has shown that a significant proportion of orthologous genes are comparably up- or down-regulated in both human and dog breast tumors. Particularly, a group of cell cycle regulators called cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors (CKIs) acting as potent tumor suppressors are frequently defective in CMTs. Interestingly, comparative analysis of coding sequences has also shown that these genes are highly conserved in mammals in terms of their evolutionary divergence from a common ancestor. Moreover, co-deletion and/or homozygous loss of the INK4A/ARF/INK4B (CDKN2A/B) locus, encoding three members of the CKI tumor suppressor gene families (p16/INK4A, p14ARF and p15/INK4B), in many human and dog cancers including mammary carcinomas, suggested their important conserved genetic order and localization in orthologous chromosomal regions. miRNAs, as powerful post-transcriptional regulators of most of the cancer-associated genes, have not been well evaluated to date in animal cancer models. Comprehensive expression profiles of miRNAs in CMTs have revealed their altered regulation showing a strong correlation with those found in human breast cancers. These genetic correlations between human and dog mammary cancers will greatly advance our understanding of regulatory mechanisms involving many critical cancer-associated genes that promote neoplasia and contribute to the promising development of future therapeutics.