Morris Animal Foundation Announces $1.1 Million Donation From Pfizer Animal Health to Establish National Canine Tumor Biospecimen Bank

Denver – New York, Monday – February 12, 2007: Morris Animal Foundation (MAF) and Pfizer Animal Health have jointly announced a $1.1 million donation from Pfizer to establish a national canine tumor biospecimen bank. This tumor tissue bank is expected to be an especially valuable asset in the quest to treat and cure cancer in dogs and may provide insights into human cancer as well. Funds for the tumor bank are restricted to the Canine Comparative Oncology and Genetics Consortium (CCOGC), a group of veterinary and medical researchers who have determined that a well-described repository of canine tumor tissues is an essential resource to progress new cancer therapies.

This new resource to fight cancer has been named the Pfizer ” CCOGC Biospecimen Repository. The bank will be located in Bethesda, Maryland.

MAF, established in 1948, took the lead role in securing the donation from Pfizer and will provide the oversight to monitor the progress of the CCOGC in collection, storage and distribution of tumor samples. MAF has previously funded over 80 canine cancer studies and is scheduled to announce a major canine cancer initiative in April 2007.

MAF and the AKC Canine Health Foundation provided the initial funding ($500,000) to launch this national biospecimen bank and will be collaborating to secure the remaining funds. The estimated total cost to populate the tissue bank is $2.2 million. The estimated time to populate the tissue bank is three years. Once completed, the tissue bank will contain some 3,000 samples including: 600 osteosarcoma, 600 lymphoma, 600 melanoma, with the remaining 1,200 drawn from other cancers. These high-quality samples will be used by veterinary and medical scientists worldwide in their quest to develop new treatments for cancer.

“Cancer is a serious health issue for pets with approximately 50% of dogs over the age of 10 dying of cancer,” states Michelle Haven, executive director of global discovery for Pfizer Animal Health. “We work closely with our Human Health colleagues at Pfizer to ensure that we take advantage of any scientific research opportunities that may hold benefit for both humans and animals.

The canine cancer tissue bank will allow veterinary and medical investigators to explore the mechanisms of cancer, to evaluate promising new drug candidates, and hopefully to better understand the relationship between human and animal cancers.”

“Cancer often has devastating affects on our lives, whether it is an animal or human family member or friend,” states Dr. Patricia N. Olson, MAF president/CEO. “Thanks to Pfizer, CCOGC, and the AKC Canine Health Foundation, high-quality canine tumor tissue samples will offer scientists a unique tool in their fight to cure cancer. Through helping our canine best friends, we just might also help ourselves.”

According to Dr. Matthew Breen, Treasurer of the CCOGC, this lead gift is a major step towards the development of an essential tool in the fight against cancer. “The Pfizer-CCOGC Biospecimen Repository will bring together several communities working on the problem of cancer in animals,” says Dr. Breen. “Having access to a large, thoroughly catalogued supply of tumor tissues for investigations of cancer biology should significantly accelerate the development of novel anticancer therapies.”

Any person, private, or corporate organization interested in helping to fund the remaining $600,000 cost of the national canine tumor biospecimen bank can contact Dr. Olson at 800-243-2345, or:

About MAF: Morris Animal Foundation, established in 1948, is dedicated to funding research that protects, treats and cures companion animals and wildlife. MAF has been at the forefront of funding breakthrough research studies benefiting animals in some 100 countries, spanning all seven continents on earth. MAF has it headquarters in Denver, Colorado. The Foundation has funded more than 1,300 humane animal health studies with funds approaching $50 million. One hundred percent of all annual, unrestricted contributions support animal health studies, not administration or the cost of fund raising. For more information, call (800) 243-2345, or visit

About Pfizer Animal Health: With 2006 sales of $2.3 billion, Pfizer Animal Health, a business of Pfizer Inc, is a global leader in discovering, developing and marketing medicines and vaccines for companion animals and livestock, including beef and dairy cattle and swine.


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