In order to learn more about the genetic causes of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), scientists are going to the dogs—literally.
Researchers at North Carolina State University used canines as genetic models for studying lymphomas based on the theory that analyzing the restricted genetic variation of purebred dogs would enable them to pinpoint NHL-associated aberrations in chromosomes that are difficult to distinguish in humans.
To conduct their study, investigators surveyed 150 non-random canine NHL cases. Thomas et al reported in Leukemia & Lymphoma that they found limited genomic instability when compared with data from humans, and no evidence for CDKN2A/B deletion in canine B-cell NHL. (Published online ahead of print March 7, 2011. doi:10.3109/1042819 4.2011.559802.)
“‘Genomic recoding’ of canine NHL data into a ‘virtual human’ chromosome format showed remarkably few regions of copy number aberration (CNA) shared between both species, restricted regions of dog chromosomes 13 and 31, and human chromosomes 8 and 21,” researchers said in their abstract.
They said more clues about NHL genes in humans might be gleaned by further study of the “less complex association between CNAs and tumor pathogenesis in canine patients.”