Brain Tumor Laboratory

Paul C and Borghild T Petersen Foundation Research Laboratory

Dedicated November 15th 2000

Director: Dr. Peter J Dickinson


The major goal of the laboratory is to advance the treatment of brain tumors in companion animals and humans through basic research and clinical translation of novel therapeutic strategies. The laboratory collaborates with researchers both at UC Davis, and throughout the United States.

Of Mice and Men ….and Dogs

Brain tumors occur in humans and dogs at a very similar rate. Moreover, canine brain tumors have striking similarities to their human tumor counterparts. Because of this similarity, advances made in the understanding and treatment of canine brain tumors can help to advance the treatment of human tumors, and our pets and companions can benefit from the tremendous advances being made in human medicine.

How can I help to cure brain tumors?

The Neurology/Neurosurgery service at UC Davis has state of the art treatments for brain tumors and clinical trials that your animal may be eligible to enroll in. These trials have already had some exciting successes. Financial assistance towards diagnostic and treatment procedures may be available for patients enrolled in some trials. Dr. Dickinson will be happy to discuss all the treatment options with you and your veterinarian and to review any diagnostic information such as MRI scans.

Without DNA samples or tumor samples from dogs (especially brachycephalic/short nosed breeds) affected with brain tumors, we would not be able to map the abnormal genes that help us better understand these diseases. The more samples we have the easier, quicker and more accurate the search will be. If you have a dog that is suspected or confirmed to have a brain tumor, Dr. Dickinson and Dr. Bannasch will be very happy to discuss how you can help us understand and hopefully eliminate these tumors from future generations.

Even if you decide not to pursue therapy or enter into a clinical trial you can help to advance our understanding of this disease and potentially help future patients by providing a DNA sample from your dog. For the DNA sample to be useful it is essential that we know exactly what type of tumor your pet has. If your dog comes to UC Davis for treatment, this is typically determined as part of the diagnostics and treatment. Although it can be a difficult and painful decision to make, if and when the time for euthanasia arrives, we will provide an autopsy to determine the cause of the pet's problem and can discuss this with your veterinarian. Although there is no direct benefit for your pet, many owners get closure from getting more information, as well as comfort from knowing that they are helping to generate data that will benefit other dogs, and potentially humans in the future.

For further questions, please contact us.