American Spaniel Club Foundation, Inc.

Inherited Cataract Study January 2020 Report

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The ASC Foundation Board is pleased to share with you the 2019 annual research report from Dr. Aguirre and University of Pennsylvania Eye Support Cataract Marker research.    The key points of this report are:

  • As has been stated previously, this research has been more complex than originally thought. 
  • Since our report in July, research has focused on 2 age groups – 2-5 years and 5-9 years and 3 ancestors in common.  Within those groups research has identified a candidate region within the genome.
  • It is believed there are at least 2 genes and possibly a 3rd gene modifier involved
  • Moving forward, research will focus on 8 dogs  ( 2 cases 2-5 years: 2 cases 5-9 years; and 4 controls)
  • The research team will be applying new technology that is expensive but will provide 30% more data in the same amount of time.
  • Although the report does not address the likelihood of research completion this year other than to state “…..a lot of work ahead”, if significant progress is made early this year then it might be possible to have a test by year-end.  But, this is unlikely.
  • Understand that even once the genetics are identified it will be 6 months or more before a test is developed and validated.
  • It is the assumption of the Board that fundraising will need to continue at least another year beyond 2020. 

Bottom line is we are narrowing the field of research which is real progress.  Yet, there remains a lot of work to complete.  Dr. Aguirre extends his thank you to everyone for the support given by the breeders and owners for sending in DNA samples, updated eye exams and other information as required.  This is essential for research to be successful and Dr. Aguirre and his research team feel the cocker fancy has really stepped up.  Although progress is good, we must not relax on DNA and Eye Exams.  The Foundation will be sponsoring another clinic in St. Louis in July at the National and our fund raising chairs will be continuing efforts in that regard as well.