GRF Update, April, 2013

Almost a year ago, I wrote about a revolutionary new project to be undertaken by Morris Animal Foundation: Golden Retriever Lifetime Study (GRLS). Enrollment was opened in September, 2012 with the goal of having 3,000 Goldens participate. GRF feels strongly about this project and the value it will have for research of cancer and other diseases in Goldens and other breeds. At this time, there are 273 Goldens enrolled with another 1054 in the application process as of April 1, 2013. You can read more about the study and current progress at www.morrisanimalfoundation.org/animal-lovers/pet-lovers/animal-news/articles/update-on-golden-study.html. We encourage all breeders to download the brochure and include with your puppy packets. Brochures are also available by contacting me at [email protected].

GRF's Senior Eye Exam Program: As mentioned last fall, OFA has created an eye registry in addition to CERF. They have very graciously volunteered to support the GRF's efforts to encourage Goldens over the age of 8 years to continue with annual eye exams by waiving the registration fee. Owners of these dogs simply send in the registration forms without payment; the dog's birthday gives them a free pass! If you prefer to use CERF, you will need to print the voucher from our web page at www.goldenretrieverfoundation.org/downloads/cerfvoucherstatement.pdf. Two senior dogs submitted their CERF exams in March, bringing the total of the program to date to 351. OFA's Eddie Dziuk has advised us that owners have submitted 160 registration applications since inception of the OFA registry in November. The Foundation thanks all owners who have had their senior Goldens examined and who will continue to do so for the life of the dog. Pigmentary Uveitis is a disease that is late onset and devastating when it occurs. With the help of all of us, we can reduce the incidence of this disease.

The following is an update on this lymphoma grant supported by GRF:

Morris Animal Foundation D09CA-029: Glutathione-S-Transferase Polymorphisms in Dogs: Association with Risk for Lymphoma and Response to Chemotherapy
Principle Investigator: Lauren A. Trepanier, DVM, PhD
Study Findings: Gene Variant May Increase Risk of Lymphoma in Dogs Exposed to Environmental Pollutants
Glutathione-S-transferase (GST) enzymes play an important role in the detoxification of environmental carcinogens. People with defects in genes that produce these enzymes are at higher risk for lymphoma, probably due to an inability to detoxify environmental pollutants.

After screening 86 healthy dogs and 93 dogs with lymphoma, researchers identified 27 variants of the GST gene GSTT1 in dogs (primarily Goldens, Labs, and mixed-breed dogs). Of these variants, one in particular was significantly overrepresented in dogs with lymphoma (18.3% of affected dogs but only 3.5% of healthy dogs).

Researchers plan future studies to screen additional dogs with lymphoma as well as healthy dogs from breeds with increased risk for lymphoma, including Goldens. If larger studies confirm this finding and link this genetic variant to a defective enzyme, it would suggest that the risk of lymphoma is related to an inability to detoxify environmental toxins in some dogs.

Defects in GST genes can also lead to increased drug toxicity in humans undergoing chemotherapy, although such patients sometimes have improved long-term survival, possibly because more drug is reaching the tumor cells. To investigate whether these observations are also true in dogs, researchers collected data from dogs with lymphoma undergoing chemotherapy, and they are in the process of evaluating the data for associations among GST variants, survival times, and drug toxicities.

Investigation of the link between GST genetic variants and lymphoma in dogs may lead to a better understanding of the relationship between environmental toxins and disease development. DNA tests to detect GSTT1 variants could help individualize chemotherapy regimens to minimize side effects, and inform owners so that they can take steps to reduce their dog's environmental risk factors (as these are identified) for lymphoma.

Partial results from this study have been published in the scientific journal Veterinary and Comparative Oncology: Positive association between a glutathione-S-transferase polymorphism and lymphoma in dogs. Ginn J et al. Vet Comp Oncol. 2012 Sep 29. doi: 10.1111/vco.12000

GALA!!! Rather than have our traditional silent auction prior to the Gala this year, we have decided to conduct an auction online to give more people the opportunity to bid on the artwork. We are looking for 2 – 3 people willing to help with this. If you are interested, please contact Collette Jaynes at [email protected]. In addition to this online auction we will have items at our booth for your bidding pleasure and, of course, really special items featured at our live auction during the Gala. Seating will be limited for the Gala, so don't miss out on the fun…remember to send in your reservations early!

To find out more of what is going on in the world of GRF, please visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Golden-Retriever-Foundation/165953684665 and Like Us!

Happy Spring everyone from the Board of the Golden Retriever Foundation.

Nancy Talbott – President
Collette Jaynes – Vice-President
Linda Johnson – Treasurer
Dianne Barnes – Secretary

And all of our hard working volunteers!