£1.5m grant funds research into canine brain tumour treatment

11th September 2023
Industry News

A research group has been given a £1.5 million grant across five years for development of a potential new treatment for aggressive brain tumours in both dogs and humans.

Bioengineers at Imperial College London are working with vets from the Nihon University in Tokyo on what they hope will eventually be an immunotherapy drug for gliomas in both species.

The project is focused on a protein called interleukin 12 (IL-12), which has shown significant promise in initial studies on mouse models, as well as in use on dogs with naturally occurring tumours.

Researchers now intend to offer a modified version, containing a collagen-binding site, to consenting dog owners. They said that will offer participating owners a treatment option not normally available to them.

Clinical trials

Researchers also hope the work, which is being supported by The Brain Tumour Charity, will eventually pave the way for clinical human trials, because of the similarities between the disease in each species.

Daisuke Ito, a veterinary neurology specialist at Nihon, said the project would offer hope to pet owners around the world.

Prof Ito said: “Current treatment in dogs is very similar to that in humans: surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. This is very expensive for owners and requires access to specialist veterinary hospitals.

“Any new treatments that are less expensive and easier to access will be welcomed by dog owners across the globe.

“I consistently saw two to five canine glioma cases each month, so this disease is an issue for canine health, too, and we need to find a cure. If we can find one that works for both people and dogs, that would be a real breakthrough.”

Limited options

Project lead Jun Ishihara, a bioengineering lecturer at Imperial College, added: “A glioblastoma diagnosis is devastating and there are currently limited treatment options for those affected – especially when the tumour recurs after initial treatment.

“With this funding from The Brain Tumour Charity we can explore this new treatment option, which we hope will help brain tumour patients live longer.

“We also hope that this work will offer new treatment in the veterinary field, offering hope to dogs and their owners.”

The project has been funded through The Brain Tumour Charity’s Quest for Cures campaign.


Credit to:  £1.5m grant funds research into canine brain tumour treatment (Vet Times)

Vet Times. (2023).  £1.5m grant funds research into canine brain tumour treatment [online]

Available at:  https://www.vettimes.co.uk/news/1-5m-grant-funds-research-into-canine-brain-tumour-treatment/