There is a growing body of evidence that spontaneous cancers in dogs represent attractive translational models. In the field of immunotherapy, dogs offer an innovative model for translational research, as they present many of the challenges faced in ?scaling up? therapeutic systems dependent on complex interactions between multiple cell types yet under more controlled settings. They also allow for long-term assessment of efficacy and toxicities. Canine clinical trials offer unique access to a rich source of spontaneously occurring, genetically and immunologically diverse cancers with the benefits of reduced time, expense, and regulatory hurdles of a human trial. The similarities between canine and human cancers are increasingly being realized. The publicly available canine genome has propelled comparative genomics studies that have shown significant homology between dogs and humans for recognized cancer-associated genes including MET, IGF1R, mTOR, and KIT. Not surprisingly, cytogenetic abnormalities that define human cancers, i.e. BCR-Abl translocations in chronic myelogenous leukemia and RB1 deletions in chronic lymphocytic leukemia have been found in comparable canine cancers. Intracranial neoplasia occurs frequently in dogs with a reported prevalence from 0.15 to 4.5% compared to 18.2 cases per 100,000 human. Astrocytoma or glioma account for 20-36% of primary brain tumors in dogs and 25% in humans. Brachycephalic breeds such as Boxers, French and English bulldogs, and Boston terriers have a significantly increased risk of developing gliomas. Primary canine brain tumors have similar histologic classification as those reported by the World Health Organization for human brain tumors. Similar to that in humans, the prognosis for dogs with brain tumors in general is poor regardless of therapeutic intervention. However, much less is known about canine glioma treatment outcomes because only a small number of studies with few dogs have been reported. There is little information about median survival time for dogs with glioma that received any type of treatment, but estimates of days to 2 or 3 months are often given to owners. The clinical similarities between dogs and humans suggest that dogs may represent an outstanding model for testing targeted therapies; both dogs and humans might benefit from these studies. Herein, we are proposing a multi-pronged immunotherapeutic approach to improve efficacy and survival times. We hypothesize that combination immunotherapy in a canine glioma model will enhance efficacy and accelerate successful translation into phase I human trials for GBM. The objective is to use pet dogs with spontaneous GBM to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of combination immunotherapy. We propose two Specific Aims: 1. Determine the safety and efficacy of immune checkpoint blockade in spontaneous canine GBM in combination with standard of care, and 2. Assess the efficacy of immune-mediated gene therapy in combination with CD200 blockade to enhance anti-glioma immunotherapy. !

Public Health Relevance

We discovered a protein (CD200 immune checkpoint) elucidated by glioma that causes immunosuppression when treating patients with immunotherapy. We developed a checkpoint inhibitor to reverse the suppressive effects of the protein. We will combine this inhibitor with other immune therapies, tumor lysate vaccines or adenoviral-mediated Flt3L/TK gene therapy, to increase the amplitude and duration of tumor progression/recurrence in a canine model of glioma using pet dogs with naturally occurring disease. If successful, these combination therapies may constitute the greatest advancement in glioma therapy in several decades.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Research Project--Cooperative Agreements (U01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZCA1)
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Sommers, Connie L
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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Veterinary Sciences
Schools of Veterinary Medicine
United States
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Haase, Santiago; Garcia-Fabiani, María Belén; Carney, Stephen et al. (2018) Mutant ATRX: uncovering a new therapeutic target for glioma. Expert Opin Ther Targets 22:599-613
Kamran, Neha; Alghamri, Mahmoud S; Nunez, Felipe J et al. (2018) Current state and future prospects of immunotherapy for glioma. Immunotherapy 10:317-339