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About This Symposium

The challenges inherent in the development of novel agents for pediatric cancer patients are well known. Kids represent a very small proportion of human patients affected by cancer. The tumors affecting children are often biologically distinct from those of adults, and physiological differences impact the usefulness of translation from adult treatments. Intriguingly, BOTH children and our canine companions spontaneously develop a number of similar cancers. Osteosarcoma, certain brain/CNS cancers, lymphoma and leukemia in children and pet dogs share remarkable biologic similarities.More recently, genomic similarities in some pediatric and canine cancers have been found to be indistinguishable. In several cases, incidence is far higher in man’s best friend. Clinical trials that incorporate spontaneously developing cancers in canine patients have the potential to inform optimization of dose and schedule and to rapidly evaluate activity of novel drug combinations in treatment-naive disease. The very normal, intact immune systems of these animals facilitate study of most immuno-oncology approaches in a non-human clinical setting. There is great translational potential in leveraging comparative oncology approaches for these shared childhood and canine cancers, which can accelerate the drug development process. Canines-N-Kids Foundation and Merck Research Laboratories are proud to co-host this first-of-its- kind Research Symposium, bringing together leading researchers from institutions around the country including pediatric and veterinary oncologists, genomics experts, immunologists, translational researchers, as well as representatives from the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, policymakers, and the childhood cancer and animal health advocacy communities. Speakers, panelists and participants will discuss challenges and progress in accelerating cancer drug development using comparative approaches, including:

  • The state of the art in comparative and novel translational cancer research
  • Ongoing preclinical, translational and clinical projects leveraging the canine patient model
  • The most promising prospects for future scientific exploration, collaboration and funding
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