The majority of cancers in animals arise spontaneously, but the fact they share our environment in terms of houses, air quality, lifestyle, water and often food, is increasingly being recognised as an important development in comparative oncology research.
Cancers in animals are typically diagnosed through combinations of blood work, diagnostic imaging, cytology, and tissue biopsies, and are typically treated through a combination of medical, surgical, radiation and interventional oncology. Palliative care for pets, and owner perception of quality of life is also a potential area for research.
Surrey Cancer Research Institute Veterinary Oncology Members
Fitzpatrick Referrals Oncology and Soft Tissue - University of Surrey School of Veterinary Medicine
Equipment & Resources
- -80 freezer for dedicated veterinary tumour archive
- 160 slice Toshiba CT scanner
- Vault designed and constructed for Varian Lin Ac
- 4 theatres including one dedicated for minimally invasive surgery / interventional techniques
- Chemotherapy hood
- On-site Clinical Skills teaching laboratory (available for hire), including six stations equipped with Storz towers, Ethicon sealing devices and surgical lights
Fitzpatrick Referrals Oncology and Soft Tissue is a large purpose-built centre animal cancer hospital on the Surrey Research Park which opened in Sept 2015. The vision and goal of the centre is to provide an environment of cutting-edge cancer care for animals, along with promoting and conducting education and clinical research on oncologic projects with benefit to veterinary patients but also having translational and comparative subtexts. Since opening over 9500 patients have benefitted from the centre’s expertise. All patients are family-owned animals (pets) and treatments are funded privately, or through pet insurance when appropriate.
The centre has highly trained surgical, medical and interventional oncologists, along with radiologists using advanced diagnostic equipment to accurately stage spontaneous tumours, and provide additional information such as surgical resectability, and the sentinel lymph nodes (mapping via lymphangiography with a 160-slice CT scanner or via contrast ultrasound). The centre also has the busiest Interventional Radiology and Oncology program in Europe. A bunker footprint for a linear accelerator is already onsite and attracting funding is underway.
In addition to clinical case management, all cancer patients are recorded and coded on a patient database and are subsequently followed, with details recorded including signalment, definitive diagnosis and outcome. The centre also houses the only biobank in the UK dedicated to archiving tissue from naturally-occurring animal cancers. The tissue is harvested ex vivo from patients undergoing surgery and has approval from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Ethics Committee.
The Clinical Director of the centre is Professor Nick Bacon, who also holds a part-time chair in Surgical Oncology at the Veterinary School at the University of Surrey. Nick moved to Surrey at the end of 2014 having worked in the field of oncology, specifically surgical oncology, in private and academic centres in both the UK and USA.
The surgical oncology team also includes Dr Laurent Findji and Dr Jonathan Bray who are both board-certified small animal surgeons with a predominantly surgical oncology caseload. Together, the three surgeons are the most experienced surgical oncology team in the UK.
The Medical Oncology program is staffed by three boarded Medical Oncology Specialists, Dr Iain Grant, Dr Quentin Fournier and Dr Yike Bing. Collectively they bring a wealth of clinical experience and research interests. Dr Gerard McLauchlan, a board-certified internal medicine clinician leads the Interventional Oncology program, assisted by Dr Magda Ferou-Geriani, a board-certified internal medicine clinician.
Dr Sergio Guilherme and Dr Audrey Petite provide Diagnostic Imaging expertise via radiography, ultrasonography, and CT modalities.
Dr Daisy Norgate and Dr Tyfane Yamaoka are the Hospital anaesthetists with huge experience in sedating and anaesthetising small animal cancer patients (mostly dogs, cats, rabbits, but able to offer advice on all veterinary species), and both have interests in managing acute and chronic pain and improving quality of life for cancer patients.
The use of complementary and alternative therapies in dogs and cats with cancer in the UK (client-based Masters questionnaire to establish base-line data on use of alternative therapies in pet population with cancer in the UK, prevalence, sources of information, perceived or actual veterinary support, reasoning behind owner decision-making). Study completed, and abstract accepted for presentation at the British Small Animal Veterinary Association Congress 2017.
Field trial for novel vessel sealing device for human market. Trialled in dogs and cats with naturally-occurring cancer undergoing surgical procedures. Co-ordinated patients with Ethicon (Minneapolis). All data collected and trial completed.
Projects in progress, translational (CDA signed on behalf of Fitzpatrick Referrals Ltd, 2015)
- Tumour chemosensitivity assays (ongoing)
- Chemotherapy delivery technology (ongoing)
- Creation of patient database and diagnostic coding for over 1,300 cats and dogs with spontaneous cancers (starting Spring 2017).
Veterinary Pathology Centre - University of Surrey School of Veterinary Medicine
Equipment & Resources
The Veterinary Pathology Centre (VPC) at the University of Surrey's School of Veterinary Medicine is an £11m purpose-built state-of-the-art facility. Its missions are varied, but all have a strong One Health focus and predominantly centre on teaching, research, and commercial activity. VPC has a dedicated team of board-certified veterinary anatomic and clinical pathologists who carry out these missions.
The Director of VPC and the School’s Head of Pathology is Dr Nicola Parry, who is board certified by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists. She joined the University of Surrey in April 2021, after 21 years working in the United States, including as Head of Pathology, both in the Division of Comparative Medicine at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr Parry also spent 6 years working as an independent pathology consultant and has significant experience as a research pathologist who collaborates with groups in academia, pharmaceutical companies, and biotechnology companies. This includes working with animal models of human cancers, especially in studies investigating inflammation-driven cancer (for example, by using Helicobacter species in mice as models of human gastrointestinal cancers).