Today’s Veterinary Business Staff
A couple whose dog was treated for cancer at the University of Florida have left part of their multimillion-dollar estate to the College of Veterinary Medicine’s oncology program.
Dr. Lawrence G. Laiks, a dentist, died in January 2022 at age 92. He and his wife, Ann, who died in 2005, were animal lovers and philanthropists.
The Laiks wanted to leave a gift that would make a significant difference in the health of animals, said Dr. Rowan Milner, a professor of small animal oncology at UF and the director of clinical and translational research. The gift will transform the college’s oncology program into a true comparative oncology center, he said.
The amount was not disclosed.
The money will be used to hire post-doctoral students who will devote their time to research. In addition, UF will beef up clinical trial staffing.
The oncology research team hopes to answer:
- Why doesn’t osteosarcoma respond to ganglioside vaccines?
- Does osteosarcoma have genetic predispositions?
- How do osteosarcoma tumor cells interact with other body cells?
Current clinical trials underway in the oncology department include:
- The evaluation of real-time, near-infrared fluorescence quantification to detect malignant lesions in the canine liver via laparotomy or laparoscopy.
- The feasibility of radiotherapy, combined with intravenous administration of an investigational veterinary product, for canine intranasal adenocarcinoma.
- Vaccine studies for dogs with appendicular osteosarcoma, splenic hemangiosarcoma or melanoma.
“Clinical trials are a real option to standard-of-care treatment for cancers that are hard to treat,” Dr. Milner said.