We’d like to congratulate Dr. Matthew Breen, Oscar J. Fletcher Distinguished Professor of Comparative Oncology Genetics, North Carolina State University, on application of his latest patent: a new, non-invasive method of diagnosing bladder cancer in dogs. Dr. Breen has been a long time user of our Nexus Copy Number software and we were pleased to learn of this news recently. Prior to this new assay that Dr. Breen developed, the existing methods for diagnosis of urothelial carcinoma (UC) in dogs included cytology, imaging, and biopsy. Cytology via urine sample can often be misleading because it relies on abnormal cells and all dogs can shed these cells but they may not be malignant. With ultrasound imaging it may be difficult to tell whether something is a tumor or just an inflammation. The only true way to diagnose canine bladder cancer was by biopsy which can be traumatic and there is a greater reluctance to do this because disturbing the cancer tissue can disperse cells and cause them to seed elsewhere in the bladder.
In speaking with the veterinary oncology community, Dr. Breen discovered a demand for the development of a free-catch urine assay to diagnose bladder cancer. So he delved into profiling canine bladder cancer and looked at copy number changes and finally devised this new assay. We had spoken to Dr. Breen about his work last year where he said, “We use Nexus [Copy Number] all the time for our copy number analysis because I think it just presents really nice data and it allows us to visually present to the client and explain to them how these genomic data actually look.” He even shared some of his research work in a webinar on comparing copy number profiles of human and dog UC to further gene discovery. During this webinar he also briefly talked about this non-invasive assay. He stated that one of the powers of Nexus Copy Number is the ability to combine data from multiple samples into a visually appealing format. Nexus Copy Number allowed him to combine multiple samples into a single view of the copy number profiles to easily identify significant common regions of gain or loss.
Congrats again to Dr. Breen and we look forward to more great discoveries coming out of his lab!