Researchers investigate natural therapeutics to manage cancers in companion animals

- April 12, 2024

“In Canada, almost one in two dogs over the age of 10 will be diagnosed with cancer, explains the founder of Adored Beast Apothecary. (Mart Productions photo/Pexels)
“In Canada, almost one in two dogs over the age of 10 will be diagnosed with cancer, explains the founder of Adored Beast Apothecary. (Mart Productions photo/Pexels)

Cancer has become the leading cause of death in dogs and when a pet becomes ill, it can affect the entire family.  

In collaboration with Canadian pet nutraceutical company Adored Beast Apothecary in Moncton, N.B., Dr. Vasantha Rupasinghe in the Faculty of Agriculture is developing a manufacturing process for pet nutraceutical products to help manage cancers of dogs.

“Currently, available treatments have limitations and compromise the quality of life of dogs,” explains Dr. Rupasinghe, a professor in the Department of Plant, Food, and Environmental Sciences and principal investigator of this collaborative research.

“For the past five years, we have been collaborating with Adored Beast Apothecary to develop unique natural health products to prevent and treat cancers of dogs.”

Left to right: Dr. Vasantha Rupasinghe, Julie Anne Lee DCH, the founder, head of R&D and formulator of Adored Beast Apothecary, Dr. Madu Amararathna, a postdoctoral fellow, and co-owner Dione Albert. 

“This is another great example of industry and academia partnering to drive innovation, and this will expand nutraceutical manufacturing capacity in Atlantic Canada,” says Stephen Hartlen, assistant vice-president of industry relations at Dalhousie.

The power of bioactives

Adored Beast Apothecary is one of the fastest-growing Canadian natural health pet supplement manufacturers and distributors. The company is owned by Dione Albert (CEO) and Julie Anne Lee DCH and is fiercely dedicated to the health and wellness of all pets, people and the planet through ethical, sustainable high-quality products that bring passion, knowledge and continued leadership in research and development.

In this current pre-clinical investigation, Dr. Rupasinghe's lab is funded by Adored Beast Apothecary and Mitacs for the assessment of four natural health product preparations for their ability to reduce the cancer-development process through their anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and cytotoxic effects on tumours.

“In Canada, almost one in two dogs over the age of 10 will be diagnosed with cancer. Practicing and owning some of the largest integrative veterinary hospitals in Canada, cancer was one of the leading diseases we saw,” explains Julie Anne Lee DCH, the founder, head of R&D, and formulator of Adored Beast Apothecary. 

“We found using natural bioactive compounds was highly supportive and successful; therefore, it was essential for us to do a deep dive into uncovering if some of these bioactives used in synergy would further enhance their medicinal benefits,” she adds.

Bringing solutions to market

This research project will help Adored Beast Apothecary develop new natural health products that will address a critical need in the pet industry. Working collaboratively with Dr. Rupasinghe and Dalhousie will help the company elevate and offer leading-edge products giving companion animal owners peace of mind. 

“I am not surprised to see the diversity and transformative research conducted by Dr. Rupasinghe, who has been recognized this year as a Dalhousie Arthur B. McDonald Chair of Research Excellence,” says Dr. Gefu Wang-Pruski, acting dean of the Faculty of Agriculture.

Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Madu Amararathna is examining both cancer preventaive and treatment properties of the new natural health products using an established experimental animal model of chemical carcinogen-induced cancer. The expected result will become useful for the Adored Beast Apothecary to proceed with the clinical dog study and progress with the business development plan and commercialization.

This industry collaboration has already led to the filing of a patent on a new manufacturing process and formulation and the publication of two peer-reviewed original research articles.



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