Vital support for oncology research
In 1985 a group of WCVM clinicians formed the Clinical Oncology Group in response to the increased number of cancer diagnoses in companion animals. From the beginning of this work, researchers realized the value of collaboration with human cancer scientists.
While research into many aspects of pet cancer continued at the WCVM over the next two decades, the college’s addition of an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) unit and a cobalt radiation machine in 2002 opened the door for increased focus on medical and radiation oncology.
When Dr. Monique Mayer joined the WCVM in 2004, she was the first board-certified radiation oncologist practising in Canada. Throughout Mayer’s tenure at the WCVM, the CAHF has provided vital support for her oncology-focused studies.
Her work on the front line of practice has allowed her to see the important clinical questions that have the potential to change practice or benefit the animals.
“The CAHF helps you be able to fund small but important clinical studies or pilot studies that can lead to bigger clinical trials,” she says. “It helps bridge that gap between clinician and researcher that otherwise just wouldn’t happen because of our clinical demands or time.”
For example, one of Mayer’s ongoing research projects is a study examining the importance of accurately locating tumours to properly target radiation treatments. The work was made possible with the help of software purchased by the CAHF, allowing researchers worldwide to take part in their study.
The project has the potential to change the way radiation oncologists practice, says Mayer. And that’s happened because of the CAHF.