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Helping cats live all nine lives

In the early
1970s, the Feline Leukemia Virus was recognized as the most important fatal
disease affecting cats. During that same time at Ohio
State, the Retrovirus Research Program
was organizing in the College
of Veterinary Medicine
with funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Special Cancer Virus
Research Program, which was part of a "war against cancer."
 Researchers in the newly-formed program were the first to develop the
patented method for the prototype vaccine that was licensed to Zoetis (formally Pfizer Animal
Health). Leukocell®, which became commercially available in 1985, has prevented
the infection and death of millions of cats worldwide and resulted in royalties
of more than $14 million for The Ohio State University. The Retrovirus Research
Program grew to become a world-renowned interdisciplinary program that was
officially recognized as a university academic Center of Excellence
in 1989. The Center for Retrovirus Research (CRR) now includes more than 14 research
groups from across Ohio State, as well as Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Wright State
University. Insights gained by studying retroviruses have established
fundamental understanding of cell biology. CRR investigators have worked
as a program project team to earn over $20 million from the National Cancer
Institute (NCI) to study retrovirus models of cancer. 

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