Morris Animal Foundation awards fellowship for feline cancer research

Amanda Feline Fellowship granted to Dr. Smitha Pillai

The Morris Animal Foundation (MAF) granted an Amanda Feline Fellowship to Dr. Smitha Pillai to study oral cancer treatment. She will receive $100,000 for her two-year fellowship. Her fellowship is one of two awarded by the MAF this year. Another fellowship was awarded to Colorado State University.

Dr. Pillai is currently working as a postdoctoral fellow in feline cancer pathogenesis and treatment at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine in the laboratory of Dr. Thomas Rosol, professor in the Department Veterinary Biosciences. She is examining a potential treatment for feline oral squamous cell carcinoma, a common and severely debilitating oral tumor that invades and destroys the jaw bones. She hopes the drug combination she is studying will reduce tumor growth and bone invasion in cats suffering from this painful oral cancer.

"This training experience will enable me to make significant contributions to the biomedical research community, specifically to animal patients suffering from invasive bone cancer," Dr. Pillai said.

First awarded in 2007, these fellowships - fully funded by an anonymous cat lover - honor a beloved cat, Amanda, who died at age 15. The donor knew there was a huge need for more health research to look at feline issues, and she wanted to encourage veterinarians and scientists to pursue this area of study. The fellowships are part of the Foundation's Happy Healthy Cat Campaign to increase funding for feline health research.

Despite the cat's status as America's No. 1 pet-there are more than 82 million in U.S. homes-cats receive less veterinary care and research than dogs, and too few scientists are studying feline health issues. Morris Animal Foundation launched the Happy Healthy Cat Campaign in 2008 to raise pet-owner awareness of feline health issues and to increase funding for feline health research and scientist training.

Posted: 5/26/10 From: Morris Animal Foundation newsrelease, Denver, May 19, 2010 "Morris Animal Foundation Awards Two Fellowships to Promote Feline Health Research"

 

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About the College of Veterinary Medicine at Ohio State

Founded in 1885, The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine is ranked fifth in the nation and includes more than 1,000 faculty, staff and students in the Departments of Veterinary Biosciences, Veterinary Clinical Sciences, and Veterinary Preventive Medicine. The Veterinary Medical Center is one of the largest specialty referral centers in the world, with more than 35,000 farm, equine, and companion animal patients each year. A nationally-recognized ambulatory practice and teaching unit in Marysville, Ohio provides farm animal experience to every veterinary student, and the Food Animal Health Research Program in Wooster, OH focuses on detection, control, and prevention of disease. Located on the only campus in the country with a comprehensive medical center offering seven health sciences colleges, we admit up to 162 veterinary students per class, and offer a new comprehensive graduate program in Veterinary and Comparative Medicine as well as a unique Master’s degree in Veterinary Public Health, in partnership with the College of Public Health. http://vet.osu.edu.