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UK researchers win canine health awards

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Robin Franklin (left) and Peter Bedford (right) with their International Canine Health Awards, which were presented at Crufts last week by Mike Townsend, chairman of the Kennel Club Charitable Trust (centre)

THE work of two UK veterinary surgeons was recognised at Crufts on March 8 with the presentation of the International Canine Health Awards for 2014. The awards, which are run by the Kennel Club Charitable Trust and supported by Vernon and Shirley Hill of the Hill Family Foundation and Metro Bank, recognise and reward innovative researchers, veterinary scientists and students who significantly impact the health and wellbeing of dogs and, in turn, help to transform understanding of human diseases. This year, Robin Franklin, of the University of Cambridge, received the £40,000 International Award in recognition of his research into healing and repair in the central nervous system. Together with his colleagues Nick Jeffery and Nicholas Granger, Professor Franklin has been investigating whether olfactory ensheathing cells from dogs’ noses can be used to encourage nerve regrowth in dogs with spinal cord injury. Transplantation of the cells into the injured spinal cord of dogs that had lost the use of their hindlegs has resulted in the recovery of a degree of movement. Professor Franklin’s research on spinal cord injury in dogs is part of his wider work, much of which centres around the biology of regenerating oligodendrocytes (the myelin-forming cells of the CNS) from stem cells already present in the CNS. This has particular relevance to multiple sclerosis in people. ‘It is a huge honour to receive recognition for the work I have done towards developing new therapies for the treatment of devastating neurological diseases in dogs and other species, including humans, for which I am immensely grateful,’ said Professor Franklin. The second award winner was Peter 266 | Veterinary Record | March 15, 2014

Bedford, an RCVS-recognised specialist in ophthalmology, who received the £10,000 Lifetime Achievement Award for his ‘ongoing and inspirational commitment to developing and improving the use of ocular disease control schemes’. The award acknowledged Professor Bedford’s support and advice in relation to primary openangle glaucoma, and his work with a range of breed clubs to help institute eye testing schemes. He has also worked with the 2013 winner of the Canine Health Awards International Award, Gustavo Aguirre, on hereditary retinal disease. On receiving his award, Professor Bedford said that it meant a great deal to him. ‘The work that I have done in hereditary ocular disease has only been possible through close collaboration with dog breeders and this award recognises this collaboration. Fortunately, awareness of these diseases is so much better today; however, I hope that the existence of this award will go on telling people that we should all aim to produce healthy pedigree dogs and that the Kennel Club is right behind all such efforts.’ Also at Crufts this year, the Kennel Club Charitable Trust presented a cheque for £1.6 million to the Kennel Club Genetics Centre at the Animal Health Trust for the continuation of its work to detect mutations responsible for inherited disorders in dogs and to develop DNA tests to identify affected animals. More than 21,000 dogs took part in this year’s Crufts, which was held between March 6 and 9 at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. The dog judged Best in Show was the standard poodle Ch/Am Ch Afterglow Maverick Sabre – otherwise known as Ricky. doi: 10.1136/vr.g2097

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UK researchers win canine health awards

Veterinary Record 2014 174: 266

doi: 10.1136/vr.g2097 Updated information and services can be found at:

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UK researchers win canine health awards.

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