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Genetics of Leukemia


This project is funded through intramural sources and philanthropic donations

Study Goals
Leukemias (cancers of white blood cells) are among the most “under-diagnosed” diseases in veterinary medicine. At present, there are no effective treatments for these diseases, although in some cases, and especially for some types of leukemia, chemotherapy may offer life extension with minimal or acceptable clinical signs and high quality of life. The first step to improve the outcome for these diseases, however, is to better understand why they happen.


This study requires viable tumor cells from peripheral blood. Samples must be collected before starting ANY treatment. Intent to treat is desirable, but not essential. Two to three EDTA tubes (5 ml each) and two to three Heparin tubes (5 ml each) shipped in a cooler with cold packs by overnight courier. All samples must be shipped using procedures that comply with all Federal regulations for shipment of biological samples. Breakable tubes should be placed in a Styrofoam tube mailer or wrapped in protective material like “bubble-wrap”. The mailer or tubes must then be placed in a secondary container (polypropylene tube or sealed plastic bag) that is leak-proof and impermeable to liquids. When packaging liquids, there must be sufficient absorbent material placed between the primary container and the secondary container to contain a leak from the primary container. This container should then be placed in the appropriate mailing container (cardboard box or Styrofoam container) and labeled as required by the Department of Transportation and the IATA. Please contact us for information on your specific package. For other eligibility criteria see below or contact us at

Financial incentive
At this time, there is no financial incentive to participate in this project. In some cases, assistance may be available to cover costs to ship samples and for routine pathology tests, but in other cases, the family may need to be responsible for these costs.

Eligibility criteria
We are especially seeking samples from Golden Retrievers, but any other purebred dog with nodal lymphoma may be eligible. This study is being conducted in collaboration with Dr. Matthew Breen of North Carolina State University.

There are various ways to participate in these studies. Please contact us at if you have questions or require additional details. Any samples can be submitted to our lab as long as we are provided at least 24 hr notice. Samples will be shared with other labs as appropriate, Please make sure to mark any box that allows samples to be shared in the appropriate Informed Consent Form.

If your dog does not yet have a verified diagnosis, you plan to seek treatment, and are willing to contribute tumor samples, please contact us at for additional information.

More information

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