Cancer Research Update!





    The Boo Radley Foundation is a first of its kind 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit corporation established to promote medical research for diseases that are common to humans and our companion animals.

  •   +      Our Vision  & Mission

    The Boo Radley Foundation supports cancer research in dogs which also benefits human cancer research.  Donations are used to support clinical trials, individual cases of dog cancer victims, and other organizations that forward the understanding and treatment of canine cancer.

  •   +      Social Justice Mission

    Unfortunately, a review of National Institutes of Health and National Cancer Institute databases reveals that individuals from underserved or disadvantaged elements of our society have higher incidence rates of cancers and other diseases. While the Boo Radley Foundation goal of delivering new treatments to market more rapidly and economically will benefit all elements of society, underserved and disadvantaged elements, due to their increased risks, will benefit greatly.  Furthermore, in an effort to better serve these groups, the Boo Radley Foundation will give priority support to persons from these groups in assisting them in enrolling their animals in clinical trials.  It should be noted that as a member of the Benevity Causes Portal, the Boo Radley Foundation is certified as a 501 (c)(3) that does not discriminate against anyone based on race, religion, ethnicity, gender identity or on any other grounds.


  •   +      Who We Are

    The Boo Radley Foundation is a first of its kind 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit corporation established to promote medical research for diseases that are common to humans and our companion animals. Unfortunately, our companion animals develop and die from many of the same diseases that afflict humans. These diseases include numerous forms of cancer, muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, influenza, metabolic storage diseases, such as lysosomal storage disorders, and many, many others.


    Scientists have discovered that many of these diseases respond to treatment in animals in the same way that these diseases respond to treatment in humans. Because these diseases spontaneously occur in companion animals in the same manner that they occur in humans, studying and treating the diseases in a companion animal offers researchers a faster and more reliable path to new treatments for humans than the traditional murine (mouse) model where diseases are "cultivated" in mice. Studying and treating these diseases in companion animals as a way to find new treatments for humans is referred to as translational or comparative medicine and is a part of the One Health and One Medicine philosophies of medicine.

Ken Johnson, Founder of The Boo Radley Foundation

Cancer is now the number one cause of human deaths globally and the number one cause of death in dogs in the U.S. Researchers estimate that 50% of all dogs in the U.S. that live to be ten years or older will develop cancer. Sadly, most will not survive. Combined with the large number of non-cancerous diseases we share with our pets, researchers in the 21st Century have tremendous opportunities to develop new therapies that may save or prolong, not only human lives, but also the lives of our pets.

The Boo Radley Foundation is named for a black Labrador Retriever who developed a glioblastoma brain tumor. Boo was a pioneer in the first brain tumor clinical trials studying brain tumors in dogs as an accelerated path to new treatments for humans with malignant brain tumors.







Dr. John H. Rossmeisl, Jr., DVM, MS, DACVIM (Chairman)

Associate Professor, Neurology/Neurosurgery

Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine

Mail Code 0442

Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061

Dr. John L. Robertson, VMD, Ph.D

Director, Center for Comparative Oncology

Professor of Pathology

Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine

Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061

Dr. Simon R. Platt, BVM_t, DACVIM, DECVN

Associate Professor of Neurology

University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine

501 D.W. Brooks Drive

Athens, GA 30602

Dr. Rebecca Windsor, DVM, DACVIM

Staff Neurologist/Neurosurgeon

Sage Centers for Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Care

7121 Amador Plaza Rd.

Dublin, CA 94568

Dr. William Bush, DVM, DACVIM

Bush Veterinary Neurology Service

165 Fort Evans Road, N

Leesburg, VA 20176

Dr. Waldemar Debinski, MD, Ph.D

Professor of Neurosurgery and Director, Brain Tumor Center of Excellence

Wake Forest University School of Medicine and Baptist Hospital

Department of Neurosurgery

Medical Center Boulevard

Winston Salem, NC 27157



Everyone who donates money to a charity deserves and needs to know how their hard earned money is spent by that charity. At the Boo Radley Foundation, we want everyone to understand how we will invest their contributions towards finding a cure for brain cancer, as well as other diseases common to humans and canines.

or mail checks to:

The Boo Radley Foundation

2701 Prosperity Avenue

Suite 400

Fairfax, VA  22031


The following list is presented for reference only. The Boo Radley Foundation does not necessarily endorse or support the organizations listed, and the information below is not guaranteed by the Foundation to be current, accurate or complete. The links on this page lead to remote sites not affiliated with the The Boo Radley Foundation.



      Office of Veterinary Clinical Trials

Please check our listing for current clinical trial recruitment opportunities PDF File or contact us at: Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine (765) 496-9715 or






           Canine Brain Tumor Research


G. Elizabeth Pluhar, DVM, PhD

Eligible cases: Dogs with meningiomas and glioma

Contact Info: Clinical Investigation Center, 612-624-2485 or

The goal of the Canine Brain Tumor Clinical Trial Program is to offer cutting edge therapy to dogs intended to preserve quality of life and improve long-term survival rates. Additionally, we will use the information gained from treating dogs to design similar treatments for people with brain tumors.


           TEXAS A&M


    Canine Brain Tumor Surgery Study -

       LUNAR 301 Clinical Trial Brochure

Veterinarians at Texas A&M University have entered into collaboration with medical doctors and scientists at University of Texas at Houston Medical School to improve our understanding of brain tumors. As a first step, the two institutions have partnered to develop a tissue bank and provide funding for canine brain tumor surgeries at Texas A&M University.




     Center for Comparative Oncology

Dr. John Rossmeisl, Associate Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery, is undertaking two studies of canine brain tumors.

Canine Meningioma Study

Purpose: To determine a safe and effective dose of a modified anti-cancer virus (Newcastle Disease Virus) for the treatment of meningiomas in the canine brain.

Canine Glioma Study

Purpose: To determine the safety and effectiveness of a new chemotherapy drug and drug delivery method in the treatment of gliomas in dogs.



The Boo Radley Foundation has no salaried positions. Everyone donates their time and talent to the mission of the Foundation. Also, we do not pay rent for our office space due to the generous in kind contribution of one of our sponsors. Here is how we have invested the funds we have received thus far:


Funded the start of a new clinical trial.

Provided funds for brain tumor surgery for five dogs in the new clinical trial.

Provided post surgical hospitalization for dogs.

Paid for post surgical MRIs to track the efficacy of the brain tumor treatment.

Flew a family from out of state to a clinical trial location, provided them with a rental car and paid for their lodging and meals while at the clinical trial site.

Provided lodging, meals and reimbursement for other families who chose to drive to various clinical trial sites.

Provided information about the Foundation's mission to approximately 100 veterinary neurologists.

We are just getting started at the Boo Radley Foundation, but we can assure you that any money you contribute to the Foundation accelerate the effort to finding a cure for brain cancer and other diseases common to canines and humans. We sincerely hope that you will join us in this fight.


To make a donation online via PayPal, click on the Donate button or mail checks to The Boo Radley Foundation.


or mail checks to:

The Boo Radley Foundation

2701 Prosperity Avenue

Suite 400

Fairfax, VA  22031














According to the American Cancer Society, about 13,000 Americans will die from brain tumors this year. Primary brain tumors are now the second leading cause of cancer deaths for males under the age of 40 and females under the age of 20. This is not due to a large spike in brain tumor incidence rates. It is because we have developed better treatment for a number of other forms of cancer.


The most common form of brain tumor in humans is the glioblastoma, which accounts for more than 75% of the total. The mortality rate for this type tumor is about 50% within 15 months and 75% within 24 months. The following chart illustrates the changes in the five year survival rates for cancer of the breast, prostate and lung compared to glioblastoma over the past 40 years.


The change in five year survival rates for glioblastoma is very small, but there is hope for improvement thanks to man's best friend. A dog's genetic makeup has strong similarities to that of a human. Dogs develop many of the naturally occurring diseases that strike humans. The Wall Street Journal lists the following types of cancer that are common in dogs as well as humans: glioma (brain cancer) osteosarcoma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, mammary carcinoma, lung carcinoma, bladder carcinoma, soft tissue carcinoma, prostate carcinoma, melanoma, and head and neck carcinoma. The ways dogs respond to treatment is also similar to the response in humans for the same diseases, which makes dogs ideal "pre-clinical models" for testing new therapies.


The National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute administer a program known as the Comparative Oncology Trials Consortium, which is a network of 20 comparative oncology centers that design and test new therapies for dogs with the goal of developing new therapies for humans. Both species benefit from this approach.




In the case of brain tumor research, however, the cost for a confirmed diagnosis of a glioma is often far too high for most families. Analysis done by the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine indicates that the median cost for such a diagnosis is about $6,000.00 in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. It often runs to more than $10,000.00. One of the missions of the Boo Radley Foundation, depending upon available resources, is to help defray these high costs for dog owners and to encourage more dog owners to enroll their dogs in brain tumor clinical trials.


Over the next 20 years, the U.S. will see a dramatic increase in the number of these deadly brain tumors. The portion of the population most susceptible to brain tumors is that group of people between the ages of 65 and 85. Due to the aging of the Baby Boomers, the over 65 population in the U.S. will double over the next 20 years. With that increase in people over 65, we will see a large increase in the numbers of brain tumors. The time to act is now! If we accelerate existing brain tumor clinical trials for dogs and begin new ones, we will have more new therapies to help meet the coming increase in brain tumor cases among humans. The good news is that both humans and our best friends will benefit from our efforts.



Press Releases

Charleston Veterinary Referral Center Announces Exclusive Partnership with The Boo Radley Foundation

Partnership will help local pet owners with dogs diagnosed with cancer and could lead to human cancer treatments


Charleston, SC (April 2012) -- Baseball great Gary Carter. Former Senator Ted Kennedy. Jazz Bandleader Buddy Rich. All these men died of glioblastoma, a particularly aggressive form of cancer. In support of research and trials in canines to find a cure for humans, the Charleston Veterinary Referral Center is proud to announce it is the exclusive local supporting partner with the esteemed Boo Radley Foundation.

Happy Birthday to our mascot, Scout.

Today (4/23/2019) is her first birthday.

Hoping to get a swimming pool.

Funny Dogs # 1

The Story of The Boo Radley Foundation

Cancer Research Update!





There’s a strong chance your aging dog will get cancer—but your puppy could also help humans survive it.


The Cancer Moonshot initiative, launched under the Obama administration, was audacious by design: Supercharge cancer research to encourage innovation, with the mission “to end to cancer as we know it.”


Cancer researchers avoid using the word “cure.” From studying cancer at the molecular level, they know that tumors are complex—even personalized. There’s no simple cancer and no single cure. So, no single destination for a “moonshot.”


But the Moonshot initiative is promoting new ways to study cancer, particularly in the promising area of immunotherapy. And it specifically gave a boost to collaborative work between animal and human medicine, the realm of comparative oncology. Dogs get some cancers that are very similar to those in humans, and now with a new infusion of funding, researchers are exploring treatments that could save the lives of both dogs and people.





The potential for mutual benefit is huge. In the past decade, at least 10 cancer drugs have been developed with input from canine studies. Most recently, on July 3 the Food and Drug Administration approved selinexor (Xpovio) for people with multiple myeloma who have failed at least five other treatment regimens. Verdinexor, the veterinary version, is being developed to treat lymphoma in dogs while also being tested as an antiviral therapy in humans.


Five Moonshot-related canine studies are using immunotherapy to prime the immune system to kill off tumors. They include clinical trials in both humans and dogs at the University of Alabama at Birmingham using a genetically engineered virus that infects tumor cells and stimulates the immune system to destroy them. At Tufts University, researchers are testing different combinations of immunotherapy agents to treat canine B-cell lymphoma.



“We understand there’s a window of opportunity for the immune system to do something in tumor spread, but we don’t quite know when that is,” says Cheryl London, a veterinary oncologist at Tufts. Finding that answer can bring new power to immunotherapy in humans and animals.


The Moonshot initiative also is funding unprecedented genomic sequencing of dogs, which will lead to a better understanding of cancer mutations and how they compare to the human version.


These projects all involve pets who acquired cancer naturally and who receive treatment through the studies, as humans often do. About half of dogs over the age of 10 will get cancer. “We are developing very critical, biologically rich information in patients who happen to be dogs,” says Amy LeBlanc, a veterinarian and director of the National Cancer Institute’s Comparative Oncology Program.


The cancer connection between dogs and humans goes beyond biology. “Dogs share all aspects of our environment,” says veterinarian Diane Brown, who is CEO of the AKC Canine Health Foundation. “They drink the same water. They’re on our same carpets, they’re on our same grass. Of all pets, they are the ones who share our lives most fully.”


The most audacious—and largest-ever—canine clinical trial is designed to prevent, not cure cancer. While it isn’t funded by the Moonshot initiative, it carries a similar goal of leaping forward in cancer research. Stephen Johnston, director of the Center for Innovations in Medicine at Arizona State University, received $6.4 million from the Open Philanthropy Project to test a universal cancer vaccine in an 800-dog trial, which launched in June. (Half of them will receive a placebo.) No one has ever created a vaccine that targets tumor cells to stop them from developing into a cancerous growth. But Johnston came up with a plan that he believes could work.



To develop the vaccine, Johnston screened 800 dogs that had eight different types of cancer and looked for neoantigens, or essentially junk proteins created by RNA splicing errors. He selected those proteins that would be shared by human tumors and came up with 30. He tested the vaccine first in mice—but because mice don’t develop cancer naturally, as dogs and humans do, they aren’t the ideal cancer model. In fact, about 92 percent of cancer trials fail to move successfully from animals (mostly mice) to humans. Nonetheless, the mice showed B-cell and T-cell immune response.


He then tested it for safety in healthy dogs—and he injected himself. “The healthy dogs we vaccinated got a good T-cell response—and so did I,” he says.


Johnston’s goal is to prevent cancer in at least 30 percent of the dogs by triggering an earlier immune response, before a tumor has taken hold. “We’re treating cancer as an infection,” he says. “We’re pre-arming the immune system against things we’re fairly certain the tumor will produce.”


Many people have told Johnston that it is impossible to create a vaccine that will prevent cancer—in dogs or humans. But his idea intrigued Doug Thamm, director of clinical research at Flint Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State University. Because the average dog lifespan is about 12 years, and dogs get cancer at age 8 or 9, it wouldn’t take long to detect success, Thamm says. “We might have a vaccine that could prevent or delay cancer in dogs,” he says. “It would really provide as close to unassailable evidence that this could work in people as you could get.”


Such a large trial is sure to produce some interesting results, even if the vaccine doesn’t work overall, says London, who is not involved in that research. “It may be that there are certain tumor types where there’s a benefit and others where there isn’t,” she says. “Eight hundred is a very large number, much larger than most of the studies we do. You’re able to do better subset analyses.”



The Vaccination Against Canine Cancer Study is currently enrolling dogs between 6 and 10 years of age who weigh at least 12 pounds and do not have a history of cancer or autoimmune disease. To enroll your dog, you must live within 150 miles of Colorado State University in Fort Collins, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, or the University of California Davis.


This study might sound more like a shot in the dark than a Moonshot, but it provides real benefits to owners and their dogs. Beyond the possibility of protecting their dogs from cancer, owners get free vet checks for their dogs two to three times a year for five years—and financial support for diagnosis and treatment of any cancer that develops.


Perhaps it also will prove that dogs are our best companions in our continuing search for better ways to prevent or treat cancer.


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