TICA members Cristy Bird, Johnny Gobble, Terri Harris, Anthony Hutcherson, Mark Kantrowitz, Anthony Nichols and Frank Whittenberg Hutcherson were acknowledged in an article on feline precision medicine in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. These enthusiasts provided their cat’s DNA to the 99 Lives Consortium, a collaborative research project involving multiple laboratories around the world.
Spearheaded by Leslie Lyons, PhD from the Department of Veterinary Medicine & Surgery at the University of Missouri, this project used whole genome sequencing of a feline patient at the university's veterinary medical center to diagnose the cause of the cat's neurological symptoms.
A variant was identified in the gene associated with Niemann-Pick disease that was not found in any other of the 73 domestic cats and 9 wild cats in the database or 190 additionally sequenced cats of various breeds. The success of this case demonstrated that this type of precision medicine approach, just starting to be used in human medicine, is also feasible for cats.
Dr. Lyons will be at the 2019 TICA Annual in Las Vegas to discuss her current research. Consider volunteering a cheek swab from your show cat to help build the database of healthy cats for future research.