In 2006, Wassong’s cocker spaniel and longtime companion, Puccini, was stricken with melanoma, the same dangerous skin cancer that humans endure. Her dog participated in clinical trials as part of a partnership between veterinarians at New York’s The Animal Medical Center (AMC) and human oncology researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). Through the trials, Puccini’s quality and quantity of life were extended. The treatment he received went on to become the first and only USDA-approved, therapeutic vaccine for the treatment of cancer in animals or humans. The information from the canine clinical trials is being used in ongoing research by MSKCC to investigate potential implications for a human treatment.
“I am thrilled that a number of leaders in the human and animal oncology fields, as well as various experts in many fields, support our cause and have joined our Board of Directors and Scientific Advisory Council. Animals and people get many of the same kinds of cancers. Our members will help give a voice to this promising science,” says Linda Wassong.
Members of the Puccini Foundation Board of Directors include the following:
ANTONELLA BORGATTI, D.V.M., Diplomate ACVIM, Diplomate ECVIM-CA, Clinical Faculty of the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.
JOHN BRADLEY, Principal, Torreya Partners LLC, New York, NY.
MATTHEW BREEN, PhD. C.Biol. M.I.Biol., Breen Lab, North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Raleigh, NC.
CRAIG CLIFFORD, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVIM (Oncology), Director of Clinical Research, Red Bank Veterinary Hospital, Tinton Falls, NJ.
ALAN MANEVITZ, MD.
JOSHUA SCHIFFMAN, MD, Medical Director, Pediatric Oncologist, at Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah.
LINDA COHEN WASSONG, Founder of the Puccini Foundation
The Puccini Foundation Scientific Advisory Council includes the following:
JEFFREY BRYAN, DVM, MS, PhD, DACVIM, Associate Professor and Director, Comparative Oncology Laboratory; Section Chief for Oncology, University of Missouri, College of Veterinary Medicine, Columbia, MO.
FRANCES GULLAND, Vet. M.B., M.R.C.V.S., M.A., Ph.D., Commissioner, U.S. Marine Mammal Commission; Senior Scientist at The Marine Mammal Center, Sausalito, CA.
JAMES P. HALPER, MD, Clinical and Research Psychiatrist and Co-Medical Director of TMS Medical Associates of New York; Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY.
MARY KAY KLEIN, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVIM, Diplomate ACVRO, Southwest Veterinary Oncology Referral Center; Clinical Lecturer, University of Arizona Cancer Center, Tucson, AZ.
C. ANDREW NOVOSAD, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology), Head of Oncology, Animal Diagnostic Clinic, Dallas, TX.
JEFFREY C. PHILIBERT, Diplomate ACVIM (Oncology), Founder, New England Veterinary Oncology Group, Waltham, MA.
CECILE SIEDLECKI, DVM, ACVIM/Oncology, Medical Director of the VCA Bay Area Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Hospital, San Leandro, CA.
ANNETTE N. SMITH, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVIM, Associate Professor, Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn, AL.
STEVEN SUSANECK, BS, DVM, Diplomate ACVIM (Oncology and Internal Medicine), Bay Area Veterinary Specialists, Houston, TX.
ANDREW VAUGHAN, DVM, MS, DACVIM, Head of Medical Oncology at the Las Vegas Veterinary Specialty Center, Las Vegas, NE.
Wassong, along with many of the members of the Board and Advisory Council will be attending the Veterinary Cancer Society (VCS) Conference October 18-21, 2012, in Las Vegas. Dr. Andrew Vaughan, Puccini Foundation Advisory Council member, is the co-chairman of the 2012 VCS Conference.
The Puccini Foundation launched a new website earlier this year at www.puccinifoundation.org. Wassong’s goal is for the website to become a centralized resource for laymen and medical professionals for all information related to comparative oncology. “Ultimately, greater awareness will lead to increased funding for comparative oncology research. What we learn from studying cancer in animals can help find treatment and cures for people,” she says.
The Puccini Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established in 2007. It is dedicated to the hope of a future for pets and people…cancer free. The Puccini Foundation’s mission is to make this a reality by educating the public and raising funds for comparative oncology programs. The Puccini Foundation serves as a resource for the One Health Commission: http://www.onehealthcommission.org/
For more information on The Puccini Foundation, visit www.puccinifoundation.org or email Linda Cohen Wassong at email@example.com. To make a donation, please visit http://puccinifoundation.org/