In Brief

Cheryl London Appointed to Named Professorship

Cummings School researcher focuses on comparative oncology and improving cancer treatment in both pets and people
October 9, 2018

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Cheryl London, V90, a research professor at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and Tufts University School of Medicine, has been appointed the Anne Engen and Dusty Professor in Comparative Oncology.

London’s work bridges clinical and laboratory studies in comparative oncology, a field that brings together researchers from veterinary and human medicine to advance our understanding of cancer biology, as well as improve cancer treatment in both pets and people.

Cheryl LondonAs director of Cummings School’s Clinical Trials Office, London oversees studies of novel therapies and diagnostics in animals with naturally occurring cancer and other diseases, aiming to optimize cutting-edge approaches for pets before moving them into human trials. Her research centers on the identification, validation, and improvement of small molecule and immune modulatory treatment strategies.

London says that by studying these in dogs with their complex immune systems and typical concurrent health conditions such as advanced age, obesity, kidney disease, researchers gain a better understanding of how the novel treatments affect the cancer as well as what side effects may occur that weren’t observed in studies of laboratory animals.  

While in general practice in Maine following graduation from Cummings School, London was surprised by the number of cancer cases she observed in both dogs and cats. This inspired her to complete a residency in veterinary medical oncology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine and subsequently earn a Ph.D. in immunology at Harvard University, where she was also a postdoctoral fellow in Harvard Medical School’s Department of Pathology.

London works closely with faculty from Tufts School of Medicine and Tufts Medical Center, and she has an active laboratory research program centered on comparative and translational oncology. She collaborates with researchers at the Broad Institute, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston Children’s Hospital, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as other academic institutions and a host of industry partners.

Prior to her joining Cummings School, she was an assistant professor at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, and then the Thekla R. and Donald B. Shackelford Professor in Canine Medicine at the Ohio State University, where she was also director of the Blue Buffalo Veterinary Clinical Trials Office and Translational Therapeutics Program at the OSU Medical Center. Her research has supported the development of important anti-cancer therapeutics in people, such as sunitinib (Sutent) and selinexor, as well as toceranib (Palladia), the first cancer drug specifically approved for dogs.

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