Texas A&M tests new cancer diagnostic for dogs

In an effort to make more reliable cancer screening options available to veterinarians, Texas A&M is launching a partnership with VolitionRx, a cancer diagnostics developer.

Veterinary oncologists at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences will test Volition’s Nu.Q suite of blood tests, which detect unique biomarkers in cancer. The two organizations signed a memorandum of understanding October 25.

As part of the agreement, Dr. Heather Wilson-Robles, an associate professor and the Dr. Fred and Vola N. Palmer Chair in Comparative Oncology in the college’s Small Animal Clinical Sciences Department, will lead the research and development of the veterinary diagnostic tests. Additionally, Texas A&M receives an equity stake in Volition Veterinary Diagnostics Development LLC, a subsidiary of Volition.

Approximately one in four dogs will develop neoplasia, the abnormal growth of cells—often resulting in a tumor—that can lead to cancer, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Nearly half of dogs over the age of 10 will develop cancer.

But there currently aren’t any accurate, simple or affordable cancer screening tests available for veterinarians, Texas A&M’s announcement said.

“I am excited to be working with Volition on this project,” Wilson-Robles said in the announcement. “The Nu.Q platform has the potential to change the landscape of veterinary cancer diagnostics” to provide “much needed affordable and reliable screening tests that, to date, simply don’t exist in the veterinary world.”

“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,” added Cameron Reynolds, Volition’s CEO. “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.”