Symposium Report: Stanford One Health Focus on Comparative Oncology

Event Details:

Stanford One Health 2017: Focus on Comparative Oncology

May 8, 2017

Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center

Report prepared by:

Ashley Zehnder, DVM, PhD, ABVP (Avian)

Stanford Department of Biomedical Data Science

Co-Director, Stanford One Health


Report Contents:

  1. Mission/Goals
  2. Meeting format
  3. Conference speakers with bios
  4. Demographics of attendees
  5. Potential new collaborations
  6. Conference evaluations
  7. Future plans


The purpose of Stanford One Health: Focus on Comparative Oncology was to connect Stanford clinicians and researchers to cutting-edge comparative research and resources in order to aid the translation of basic science cancer discoveries to the clinic.

We expected that this focused symposium would produce:

  • New collaborations and novel hypotheses for investigations around translational cancer research.
  • Potential for new approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of disease in both animals and humans.

This conference emerged as a continuation of other Stanford One Health symposia, held in 2014 ( and 2016 (, that focused on a broad range of topics. The main organizers of SOH 2017 were Ashley Zehnder, DVM, PhD, DABVP(Avian), a research scientist in the Department of Biomedical Data Science with a focus on comparative oncology research, and Donna Bouley, DVM, PhD, DACVP, and Jose Vilches-Moure, DVM, PhD, DACVP, pathologists in the Stanford Comparative Medicine Department.

Meeting Format:

The symposium began at 9:00 AM and concluded at 3:30 PM. We opened with an introduction by organizer Ashley Zehnder and Dr. Carlos Bustamante, Inaugural Chair of the Department of Biomedical Data Science. The morning session consisted of four veterinary oncology speakers, highlighting different translational cancer programs from around the country, including Colorado State University, the University of California, Davis, the University of Minnesota, and the NIH Comparative Oncology Trials Consortium.

The afternoon session consisted of a focused discussion panel on four topics:

  1. Areas of collaboration between Stanford and the comparative oncology community;
  2. Ways in which a more collaborative approach to translational research can help Stanford researchers develop novel therapies;
  3. Potential funding sources for collaborative research projects;
  4. Ways to engage Stanford trainees (MD, PhD, postdocs) in comparative oncology.

[Discussion transcripts and whiteboard notes pending]


SOH2017 Attendees

Speakers and Bios:

Rodney Page, Professor and Director of the Flint Animal Cancer Center, Stephen Withrow Presidential Chair in Oncology, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University

Dr. Page received his DVM from Colorado State University and completed specialty training in the field of medical oncology in NYC.  He was a faculty member at North Carolina State University, prior to his appointment at Cornell University as Founding Director of The Sprecher Institute for Comparative Cancer Research. In 2005, Dr. Page was appointed Chair of the Department of Clinical SciencesDr. Page returned to Colorado as the Director of the Flint Animal Cancer Center in 2010 (  His research interests have recently been focused on a ‘One Medicine’ approach to cancer. He has been involved with the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study since 2008, and has initiated a national effort to bring translational and comparative oncology to a greater audience. Website 

Antonella Borgatti, Associate Professor, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, University of Minnosota

Dr. Borgatti graduated cum laude from the University of Torino, Italy in 1996. After three years in general practice, she received a scholarship to pursue specialized training in oncology at North Carolina State University, where she subsequently remained as a Research Associate, Oncology Intern, and Clinical Instructor in Oncology. She completed a Residency in Comparative Oncology at Purdue University, where she also received a Master of Sciences Degree in 2006. Dr. Borgatti became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Oncology) in 2006, and a Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in 2007. She worked at a specialty referral hospital in North Carolina for two years before joining the faculty at the University of Minnesota in 2008. She is currently Associate Professor of Oncology in the College of Veterinary Medicine, Member of the Masonic Cancer Center, Member of the Vallera laboratory, and Director of the Oncology residency program. Website

Michael Kent, Director of the Center for Companion Animal Health, UC Davis

Michael Kent is a Professor of Radiation Oncology at the University of California, Davis’s School of Veterinary Medicine. He is also Director of the Center for Companion Animal Health. He graduated from veterinary school at UC Davis in 1997. He then went on to do an internship at the University of Pennsylvania. This was followed by a year in private practice in Pennsylvania before he went on to do residencies in Medical and Radiation Oncology at UC Davis, where he also received his Masters Degree in clinical research. He is also the program co-leader for the comparative oncology program at the medical school’s NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center. His research interests include clinical trials and tumor biology of canine melanoma and osteosarcoma. Website

Amy LeBlanc, Director, Comparative Oncology Program, NIH

Dr. LeBlanc is a board-certified veterinary oncologist and Director of the CCR Comparative Oncology Program at the NIH’s National Cancer Institute. In this position, she directly oversees and manages the operations of the Comparative Oncology Trials Consortium (COTC), which designs and executes clinical trials of new cancer therapies in tumor-bearing pet dogs. Her research focuses on animal modeling for the development of new cancer drugs and imaging agents, and identification of imaging biomarkers, development, and optimization of PET imaging hardware and imaging protocols. She has experience in fostering collaborations with industry and academic partners to support relevant eIND studies in man. She has given numerous invited lectures on the inclusion of companion animals in imaging-based translational research, and the value of comparative oncology in drug and imaging agent development. Website

Demographics of attendees (Including speakers and organizers):

Conference attendance was capped at 45 to allow for more active discussion and interactions between speakers and participants. There were 44 pre-registered attendees and a total of 32 final attendees.

Degree Total % Total
DVM/Board Certification 9
DVM/PhD/Board 3
Total DVM 16 48.5%
MD 1
MD /PhD 3
Total MD 4 12.5%
PhD/PhD Cand 6 18.8%
Other (NP) 1 3.1%
Not Stated 5 15.6%
Total 32 100.0%

New collaborations from the meeting:

Collaborator1 Institution1 Collaborator2 Institution2 Project/topic
Bryan Smith Stanford Michael Kent UC Davis Molecular imaging
Ashley Zehnder Stanford Michael Kent UC Davis Veterinary data science
Kevin Grimes Stanford Antonella Borgatti UMN Cancer drug translation
Teresa Purzner Stanford Michael Kent UC Davis Osteosarcoma
Jianghong Rao Stanford Amy Leblanc NIH NCI PET imaging agents
Juergen Willmann Stanford Amy Leblanc NIH NCI Molecular imaging
Carlos Bustamante Stanford Rod Page CSU Bioinformatics training program

Several new collaborations are being explored following this meeting between the invited speakers and researchers at Stanford, including research focused on molecular imaging, veterinary data science and bioinformatics, cancer drug translation and osteosarcoma research.

Evaluations (quantified results pending): 

Conference feedback was all very favorable, especially regarding the symposium content and speakers. Everyone from Stanford who has provided feedback, thus far, has supported the development of a formal One Health program at Stanford.

Future Plans: 

We are very pleased with the success of all three “One Health”-themed conferences (the Stanford Zoobiquity Research Symposium 2014, One Health 2016, and the 2017 focused symposium on Comparative Oncology). The Stanford One Health Advisory board is currently working on a proposal for a formal One Health Center for the University’s long-range planning process.




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