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Cornell Pathologist Seeks Tumor Samples

If your Tripawd has been diagnosed with a soft tissue sarcoma or histiocytic sarcoma, please ask your vet to contact Dr. Andrew Miller, a pathologist at the Miller lab at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.


Dr. Andrew Miller needs help from veterinarians in order to obtain fresh tumoral tissue samples from affected dogs to “study the role that mutations play in tumorigenesis, progression, and ultimately treatment response,” he explains.

Thanks to Oliver Moore’s people we learned about Dr. Miller, who wanted Olli’s amputated leg to study his Histiocytic Sarcoma tumor. He tells us that “one of the serious problems facing veterinary medicine and especially pathology research is the lack of samples that we often receive and the inability to garner enough cases to develop a statistically significant study.”

Oliver’s affected leg was easy to transport to Cornell because he lives nearby, but for dogs in other regions additional steps to preserve and ship must be followed. Dr. Miller is only accepting samples submitted through a veterinarian, with a complete history to accompany them as this is extremely helpful in terms of comparing survival rates, treatment, and pathologic features.

Dr. Miller adds that “Samples are to be submitted on wet ice, shipped overnight so that we can do the proper sampling as soon as possible.”

If you are interested, here is a letter you can download, print and give to your vet. It says:

March 7, 2014

Dear Doctor,
As part of ongoing research into the mechanisms of canine soft tissue sarcomas of the peripheral limb and peri-articular histiocytic sarcomas, the Miller lab at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine needs the help of veterinarians to obtain fresh tumoral tissue samples from affected dogs.

The research in the Miller lab is focused on using targeted genetic and immunohistochemical analysis to better understand the role that mutations play in tumorigenesis, progression, and ultimately treatment response. We are additionally focused on understanding the role that tumor infiltrating inflammatory cells play in tumor progression and patient prognosis. To further advance our research, we are now searching for tumoral samples from dogs.

The following is what we would need specifically:

  1. From dogs with either soft tissue sarcomas or peri-articular histiocytic sarcomas:

    1. Sterile pieces of 1cm3 tumoral tissue collected during surgery or immediately after euthanasia. For optimal isolation, samples need to be stored (and shipped) in physiological saline solution at 4 degrees Celsius (e.g. the tubes wrapped in ice packs).
    2. A piece of 1cm3 (or less if not available) stored (and shipped) in 10% NBF. This can be shipped together with the other samples at 4 degrees C. We will use this piece for histopathologic examination of the tumor tissue with results shared with the submitting veterinarian if requested.

Our lab has already made some interesting discoveries related to tumor antigen expression and immune cell infiltrates in other tumors in the dog and we are hopeful that this data provides further insight into tumorigenesis in the dog. If you are interested in joining our effort to understand these tumors, please contact me at the email address above and we will provide shipping information (i.e. FedEx account etc.)

Sincerely yours,

Andrew D. Miller, DVM, Dipl. ACVP

 If you have any questions about donating your Tripawd’s “spare leg,” contact Dr. Miller today!

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