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How Can Molecular Genetic Improve Precision Veterinary Care for Canine Hemangiosarcoma?

a model of molecules

Molecular profiling in cancer is all about looking closely at the changes or alterations in tumor cells compared to normal, healthy cells. Genetic molecular testing is slowly becoming part of standard clinical practice for dogs with cancer, as it can assist veterinarians with diagnosis, provide information about prognosis, and aid with a selection of therapeutic options.

In this scientific review, four researchers from various European epicenters introduced molecular technologies that utilize different body fluids and tissues to isolate tumor cells, DNA, RNA, and relevant proteins to assist veterinarians who may not be familiar with these techniques and anticipated the newest shifts in technology that could help better the process as well.

The genome is like a blueprint that holds all the genetic information in an organism or a group of cells. Genes, which are sections of DNA, contain instructions for making proteins, and sometimes, DNA can change in little tweaks or large rearrangements, either in just one cell or in all cells of the body. That modification can lead to things like faulty proteins and even contribute to the development of cancer. 

Comprehensive studies on the genetics of cancer in domestic dogs are crucial for improving their care, as they help identify new markers for diagnosing and predicting the course of tumors and for developing targeted treatments. The researchers backed the information up with many Hemangiosarcoma studies performed previously, for instance, one that investigated genomes of 191 dogs with splenic HSA that revealed mutations and genetic variations associated with factors like breed and survival rates and using TGS to characterize the genetic landscape of Hemangiosarcoma in canines, identifying recurrently mutated genes (such as TP53PIK3CA and LRP1B), recurrent somatic number alterations and mutational signatures. 

They reviewed the current methods used to characterize the molecular profile of canine cancer, like liquid biopsy (molecular investigation of the fluids of the body), Circulation Cell-Free DNA (the detection of tumor cells from affected tissues that can release additional DNA fragments into the blood or other body fluids. This is the approach used in the recently launched OncoK9® from PetDx), Nucleosome concentrations in plasma (As seen in the Nu.Q™ test), and PCR methods, among others. These methods have been more commonly used in human research and are starting to be used in veterinary oncology to understand how tumors grow and spread in dogs.

Dogs are all part of the same species called Canis familiaris despite their breeds. In 2005, the first draft of a dog's genome was created from a Boxer named Tasha. Over the years, newer versions were updated, which filled in many gaps and gave a better picture of the genes in a dog's DNA. Having a solid reference genome is crucial for understanding diseases like cancer. It helps scientists spot changes in DNA that might cause diseases and develop better treatments.

They also looked into the future of tools being perfected, such as using artificial intelligence (AI) to identify genetic mutations from histomorphological criteria.

In summary, the molecular genetic characterization of canine neoplasms has made a promising start for cancers like Hemangiosarcoma. As we understand more of the genetics underlying these tumors and more targeted therapies become available, it will no doubt become a mainstay in the delivery of precision veterinary care to dogs with cancer.


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