AUBURN – The Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine has launched a new initiative to accelerate cancer innovation from the laboratory to the clinic. The Auburn University Research Initiative in Cancer, or AURIC, embodies “One Medicine” – the concept that sees human and animal health as a single field where discoveries in one species advance health in both species.
“In 2010, more than 23,000 new cases of cancer were diagnosed and more than 10,000 people died of cancer in Alabama,” said Bruce Smith, AURIC director. “In addition to being ill with cancer or seeing relatives endure pain, many Alabamians have also watched a beloved pet suffer from this disease. Animals and humans share many of the same cancers and what we learn in treating a tumor in a dog can teach us more about treating the same tumor in a person.”
Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard of Auburn was instrumental in establishing AURIC. A $1 million appropriation from the state of Alabama will be used to support cancer research by Auburn University faculty in a wide range of cancer-related areas. “The goal is to leverage this initial funding into increased federal and private support,” Smith said.
“AURIC will build on the college’s existing strengths in nanotherapeutics, nanomedicine, cancer genetics, gene targeting and the capacity to develop translational models,” said Calvin Johnson, acting dean of Auburn’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
On March 16 during a reception for Speaker Hubbard, the College of Veterinary Medicine announced the creation of The Speaker Mike Hubbard Fellowship in Cancer Research at Auburn University. The endowed fund will provide support to an outstanding student pursuing a Ph.D. in cancer research.
Members of AURIC’s board include scientists and oncologists with the College of Veterinary Medicine, as well as representatives with Auburn’s Harrison School of Pharmacy and Samuel Ginn College of Engineering.
“What makes AURIC unique are the research entities and tools available to us as a university,” Smith said. “Auburn is one of a few universities in the United States that has the combination of an engineering college, veterinary medicine and an MRI facility.”
For more information on the Auburn University Research Initiative in Cancer, go to AURIConline.org.