TGEN-Ethos Study Underscores Need for Setting High Standards in Veterinary Cancer Diagnostics

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Written by Steve Yozwiak

PHOENIX, Ariz. — May 21, 2019 — Ethos Veterinary Health, Ethos Discovery, and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), an affiliate of City of Hope, announced today that they have developed a highly accurate test for the diagnosis of canine lymphoma.

In a study published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine (JVIM), Ethos and TGen found that their test, called ePARR, was more than 90 percent accurate among a range of lymphoma sample types (link to the complete JVIM article is below).

TGen conducted genetic analysis of more than 180 dogs with naturally occurring cancer to confirm if they had lymphoma, and then determine exactly what type of lymphoma, which is a common and aggressive cancer in dogs.

“An ongoing need exists for robust validation of molecular diagnostics in veterinary medicine. This study is an example of exhaustive validation of one such molecular test,” said Dr. Will Hendricks, an Assistant Professor in TGen’s Integrated Cancer Genomics Division, and one of the study’s co-senior authors. “Overall, ePARR is more than 90 percent accurate across sample types and diagnostic settings.”

The study authors suggest that such tests could be even more accurate if testing facilities adopted more uniform testing techniques, established uniform high performance standards, and made their results more readily available to the general research community.

“In the veterinary diagnostic area, there is a need for methodological consistency and transparency. Each lab has their own methods for how to run the same test,” said Dr. Chand Khanna, Chief Science Officer of Ethos Veterinary Health, and also a co-senior author of the study. “Our validation of ePARR included over 180 dogs and a broad diversity of sample types, including cell pellets, air dried aspirates, and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues.”

Shukmei Wong, who is a TGen Senior Research Associate in the Hendricks Laboratory, who conducted the study experiments, and is a co-author of the study, said: “I hope this paper will inspire more reporting of assay methods and metrics, and help drive the creation of reference standards and more consistent protocols in diagnostics in veterinary medicine.”

Dr. Sam Stewart, Science Commercialization Fellow at Ethos Veterinary Health, agrees:

“It is truly unique to see such complete rigorous validation of a molecular assay in this field, and we hope this standard of transparency and quality will be followed by others. As a Critical Care doctor, I am proud to offer this high level of quality in a diagnostic assay to my patients.”

Molecular level investigations into dog DNA could someday not only improve the health of dogs with cancer, but also help contribute to a better understanding of cancer in humans, as well.

This study was funded by non-profit Ethos Discovery, which is evaluating options to make the ePARR test available to veterinarians and pet owners.

The study — Polymerase Chain Reaction for Antigen Receptor Rearrangement (PARR): Benchmarking performance of a lymphoid clonality assay in diverse canine sample types — was published April 2 in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

No dogs were harmed during this research. Only tissue samples from pet dogs with naturally occurring cancers were examined.


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About Ethos Veterinary Health

Ethos is a veterinary health company with hospitals across the U.S. providing advanced medical care for pets. Our approach includes a focus on transformative science, continuous learning, growth for team members, and the development of collaborative relationships. For more information, visit

About Ethos Discovery

Ethos Discovery is a 501(c)(3) non-profit incubator of scientific innovation that seeks to improve health outcomes in pets and humans with complex medical problems, including cancer. For more information, please visit

About TGen, an affiliate of City of Hope

Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a Phoenix, Arizona-based non-profit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life-changing results. TGen is affiliated with City of Hope, a world-renowned independent research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases: This precision medicine affiliation enables both institutes to complement each other in research and patient care, with City of Hope providing a significant clinical setting to advance scientific discoveries made by TGen. TGen is focused on helping patients with neurological disorders, cancer, diabetes and infectious diseases through cutting-edge translational research (the process of rapidly moving research toward patient benefit). TGen physicians and scientists work to unravel the genetic components of both common and complex rare diseases in adults and children. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities worldwide, TGen makes a substantial contribution to help our patients through efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process.

For more information, visit: Follow TGen on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter @TGen

Media Contact at TGen:
Steve Yozwiak
TGen Senior Science Writer

Clinical Trial: To evaluate a new therapy for cats with anemia due to chronic kidney disease

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Ethos Veterinary Health is conducting a fully funded, FDA-regulated study to evaluate new therapy for cats with anemia due to chronic kidney disease.

We are currently enrolling cats in a study at a number of our hospitals involving the use of a unique gene therapy product. Products based on similar technologies (but not for this indication) are approved for use in human medicine in the U.S. and Europe, but this type of novel product has not yet been used for treating cats, making this an exciting treatment option.

Study Eligibility and Details:

  • Cats must be at least two years old and weigh at least 2 kg.
  • Eligible patients must have IRIS staged CKD and hematocrit of <28%.
  • The treatment is administered once by intramuscular injection at the beginning of the study (Day 0) and cats are monitored regularly for 70 days thereafter.
  • The study will include a placebo treatment group. Cats will be enrolled at a ratio of one placebo-treated cat for every four active-treated cats. Although the cats assigned to the placebo treatment group may not show improvement of their signs of anemia, they will still receive the benefit of free veterinary care and laboratory testing during the study.
  • Cats will receive physical exams, regular clinical pathology assessments and treatment at no charge to the client over the period of their participation in the study.
  • Owners who comply with study requirements will be compensated for costs associated with study.

Clinical Study for cats with chronic kidney disease

Enroll Today:

If you are interested in participating in this study, please refer to the list below and call the Ethos Veterinary Health hospital near you to learn more, or to schedule an appointment for a consult.

  • Boston West Veterinary Emergency & Specialty, Natick, MA: Dr. Hathaway Fiocchi, 508-319-2117
  • Bulger Veterinary Hospital, North Andover, MA: Dr. Annalisa Prahl, 978-682-9905
  • Capital District Veterinary Referral Hospital, Latham, NY: Dr. Shelley Smith, 518-785-1094
  • Massachusetts Veterinary Referral Hospital, Woburn, MA: Dr. Marion Haber and Dr. Kenneth Palladino, 781-932-5802
  • Port City Veterinary Referral Hospital, Portsmouth, NH: Dr. Karen Campbell and Dr. Tonya Brown, 603-433-0056
  • Premier Veterinary Group, Chicago, IL: Dr. Katie Simpson, 773-516-5800
  • Veterinary Specialty Hospital – Sorrento Valley, San Diego, CA: Dr. Kate Arnell, 858-875-7500
  • Vista Veterinary Specialists, Sacramento, CA: Dr. Nathan Bailiff, 916-231-4445