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One Step Closer to Curbing Canine Cancer: ACVIM Foundation
Awards Oncology Grant

Auburn University study will explore efficacy of innovative blood test in detecting breast cancer cells in dogs

DENVER (October 25, 2016) – The American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) Foundation has awarded funds to Dr. Annette Smith, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology & SAIM) and her collaborators in the Department of Clinical Sciences at Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine to perform research focused on improving diagnosis and prognosis of canine breast cancer through the use of a novel blood test called microRNA.

Dr. Smith and her team received a grant totaling $28,458 from the ACVIM Foundation for their study titled, “Circulating MicroRNA as Predictive Biomarkers for Canine Mammary Neoplasia,” which will explore if microRNA can be used to accurately detect cancer cells and also predict how well patients will respond to treatment.

“The Auburn University study coincides with the mission of the ACVIM Foundation, which is to improve animal and human health by funding discovery and education,” said Andrea Miller, Director of the ACVIM Foundation. “Dr. Annette Smith and her collaborators are leaders in veterinary medicine, and we are honored to support their valuable research.”

Breast cancer is a common cause of death in both women and dogs, and the disease shares characteristics at the genetic level. Circulating microRNA has shown promising early results in human studies, which Dr. Smith and her team are hoping to also achieve with canine patients.

“We are very pleased for the opportunity to perform research in the exciting area of microRNAs,” said Dr. Smith. “These small molecules may provide clues to early diagnosis and prognosis in canine mammary tumors with just a small blood sample. Ultimately, therapeutics blocking some of these molecules may also be developed. There will likely be translational applications for human breast cancer. We appreciate the ACVIM Foundation’s funding of this project.” 

The ACVIM Foundation exists to bridge the gap between available funding and the vital work that needs to be done. Because clinical studies in veterinary medicine are severely underfunded and receive virtually no government support, ACVIM specialists have long depended on the generosity of private donors and industry sponsors to support their research. For more information about the ACVIM Foundation grant program, please visit

About the ACVIM Foundation
The American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to pioneering the healthcare of animals through the work of specialists in the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM): small and large animal internists, cardiologists, neurologists, and oncologists. The ACVIM Foundation recognizes the need for advanced care, research dollars, awareness, and the need to support the Resident-in-training and the future scientist. Learn more at

About the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM)
The American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of animals and people through education, training and certification of specialists in veterinary internal medicine, discovery and dissemination of new medical knowledge, and increasing public awareness of advances in veterinary medical care. The ACVIM is the certifying organization for veterinary specialists in cardiology, large animal internal medicine, neurology, oncology and small animal internal medicine. For more information, visit

About Auburn College of Veterinary Medicine
The Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine is the seventh oldest college of veterinary medicine in North America, and has produced more than 6,400 veterinarians and more than 500 specialists and researchers. The mission of the college is to prepare individuals for careers of excellence in veterinary medicine, including private and public practice, industrial medicine, academics, and research. The College provides programs of instruction, research, outreach, and service that are in the best interests of the citizens of Alabama, the region, the nation, and the world.

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Media Contact:
Shannon Stevens
877.703.3824 x. 107

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