Texas A&M Veterinary School helps create first-ever cancer screenings for dogs
A partnership with medical firm Volition will develop new blood tests that can identify early cancer in dogs
Credit: Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
There are currently no accurate, simple and affordable cancer screening tests available in veterinary medicine, yet 25 percent of the more than 55 million dogs in the United States will develop cancer at some stage of their life, accounting for an estimated 4.2 million cancer diagnoses each year.
The Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) and VolitionRx Limited (Volition) are working to change that with a partnership through which veterinary oncologists at the CVM will test Volition’s Nu.Q, a suite of routine blood tests for the unique nucleosomes that serve as biomarkers in cancer. The partnership was announced on Oct. 25.
“The Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences is excited to be working with Volition to develop tests for the early detection of cancer and other diseases in animals,” said Dr. Eleanor M. Green, the Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M. “The research and clinical trials conducted by CVM’s veterinary oncologists work on the cutting-edge of medicine and have benefited both humans and animals. The goal of this project with Volition is to provide all veterinarians with simple, affordable, routine blood tests that can help identify disease early and improve the lives of both animals and the people who love them.”
As part of the memorandum of understanding, Dr. Heather Wilson-Robles, an associate professor and Dr. Fred and Vola N. Palmer Chair in Comparative Oncology in the CVM’s Small Animal Clinical Sciences Department, will lead the research and development of the veterinary diagnostic tests.
“I am excited to be working with Volition on this project,” Wilson-Robles said. “The Nu.Q platform has the potential to change the landscape of veterinary cancer diagnostics provided much needed affordable and reliable screening tests that, to date, simply don’t exist in the veterinary world.”
Also as part of the agreement, Texas A&M University, a member of The Texas A&M University System, receives an equity stake in Volition Veterinary Diagnostics Development LLC (“Volition Veterinary”), a subsidiary of Volition.
“We are delighted to execute these agreements today and are excited to collaborate with Texas A&M, a leading U.S. institution, to develop Nu.Q Vet products,” said Cameron Reynolds, Volition chief executive officer. “I and other members of the Volition board and executive team have very much enjoyed the hospitality of Texas A&M and are very impressed with the caliber of personnel and fantastic facilities in the veterinary school.”
Volition is a multi-national life sciences company developing simple, easy-to-use, cost-effective blood tests to help diagnose a range of cancers and other diseases.
Early diagnosis has the potential to not only prolong the life of patients, but also to improve their quality of life. Volition’s Nu.Q tests are based on the science of nucleosomics, which is the practice of identifying and measuring nucleosomes in the bloodstream or other bodily fluid, an indication that disease is present.
Volition is primarily focused on human diagnostics but also has a subsidiary focused on animal diagnostics.
Volition’s research and development activities are currently centered in Belgium, with additional offices in Texas, London and Singapore, as the company focuses on bringing its diagnostic products to market.
For more information about Volition, visit Volition’s website.