Health & Research

How to Participate in Cancer Research

Dear Doctor,

As you know, Golden Retrievers have a high incidence of cancer, with a 1998 Health Survey (results available on the Health Section of the GRCA website indicating that 57% of females and 66% of males will be affected. While many types of cancer are elevated in the breed, approximately one-half of the total is comprised of lymphoma (1 in 8 Goldens) and hemangiosarcoma (1 in 5 Goldens).

The Golden Retriever Club of America and the Golden Retriever Foundation have dedicated significant resources to improving Golden health, and are actively supporting numerous research studies investigating cancer in the breed. We are pleased to see results of these studies regularly published in premier medical journals, and translated into improved care opportunities.

In addition to financial support, we also aid researchers in obtaining vital tissue and/or blood samples from affected dogs. Along with this letter we have supplied a page with contact information for several of the programs investigating various cancers in Golden Retrievers. Owners do not need to be members of GRCA to participate, and we find that many owners are comforted to know that samples from their affected dog may benefit other dogs in the future. We hope that you will consider discussing sample donation to support research with your clients when their Golden Retriever is diagnosed with (or suspected of having) cancer.

Thank you for your consideration of this request, and please feel free to contact us or refer your clients to us for further information.


Golden Retriever Club of America
Golden Retriever Foundation (

Correspondence to: Rhonda Hovan, GRCA Research
330-668-0044 home
330-338-4236 cell

Contact Information for Golden Retriever Participation in Cancer Research

A Legacy of Hope:
Your Dog Can Make a Difference

  1. Donating blood and tumor tissue from dogs with cancer

Below is contact information for three research labs with which the Golden Retriever Foundation and the Golden Retriever Club of America have strong, long‐term, and ongoing supportive relationships. These labs are recommended as points of initial contact, but there are many other excellent research labs that may also need blood and tissue samples.


  1. Please do not rely on these research labs to provide timely histopathology reports on surgical or biopsy samples.
  2. Handling of tissue samples is time sensitive and must follow specific protocols. Please contact the research lab as far in advance as possible before collecting the sample to make arrangements.

The Dog Genome Project (The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard)

Contact: Michele Koltookian
Notes: Blood only, primarily from dogs with hemangiosarcoma, osteosarcoma, melanoma, lymphoma, mast cell tumors, mammary cancer, also dogs with kidney failure at young age (juvenile renal dysplasia) and healthy dogs 8+ years of age.

The Breen Lab
Matthew Breen, PhD
Notes: Sample recruitment is currently suspended, but research continues.

The Modiano Lab
Jaime Modiano, VMD, PhD
Notes: Samples primarily from dogs treated at the University of MN, but check website for the most current info.

  1. Blood samples from all dogs (healthy dogs, dogs with any disease, young & old dogs!)

Another excellent way to support research is to send a blood sample (no tissue) to the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) DNA Repository, also called simply “the DNA bank.” A blood sample stored here can provide enough DNA to be shared among many investigators and research projects over a long period of time. We encourage owners to bank a blood sample from all Goldens of any age, and any health or disease status. Please note that it is of critical importance to update the dog’s health or disease status as it changes throughout the dog’s life, as well as your own contact information, so that the sample can be used appropriately.

The CHIC DNA Repository
Phone: 573‐442‐0418

For questions please contact Rhonda Hovan or 330‐668‐0044 or 330‐338‐4236

Please print this page and ask to have it put in your dog’s veterinary chart for immediate access in an emergency

Last updated Sept, 2017