Sally Mortlock


Sally Mortlock


Sally Mortlock | PhD Student

Faculty of Veterinary Science
Rm 505, RMC Gunn Building B19
The University of Sydney NSW 2006
E: smor5136@uni.sydney.edu.au

Qualifications

Bachelor of Animal and Veterinary Bioscience (Hons1)

Research Interests

Canine Cancer

Research Project

Lymphoma in Australian Bullmastiffs

Project Supervisor

Associate Professor Peter Williamson

Associate Supervisors

Professor Rosanne Taylor
Dr Peter Bennett

About the project

Lymphoma is one of the most common cancers in dogs. Studies conducted overseas investigating incidences of lymphoma in dogs have identified an association between disease occurrence and breed, with some breeds exhibiting an extremely high rate of disease [1]. Bullmastiffs are one such breed that has been identified in some countries as having a high incidence of lymphoma [2, 3]. The high rate of disease in Bullmastiffs suggests a genetic predisposition to the disease and thus provides a unique opportunity to investigate the genetic mechanisms behind lymphoma susceptibility. After reports of a high incidence of lymphoma in families of Australian Bullmastiffs and thanks to the generous Maple Simmons Research in Lymphoma bequest, donated to the faculty by Katherine Howard and David Simmons in memory of their beloved Bullmastiff Maple, we were able to set up this project to investigate lymphoma predisposition in this breed.

The aims of this project are:

  • to explore the prevalence and heritability of lymphoma in Australian Bullmastiffs.
  • investigate the genetic mechanisms behind the predisposition of Bullmastiffs to lymphoma through the identification of aberrations in genes that increase the probability of lymphoma development.

Determining the heritability of the cancer in these populations and identification of genes predisposing Bullmastiffs and other breeds to lymphoma will allow for prevention of the disease through selective breeding strategies. Screening of the parents for the presence of predisposing genes will prevent potential suffering of the progeny while avoiding potential treatment costs and loss of life. Understanding the nature of any genetic changes associated with the development of lymphoma may lead to new treatment options in the future.

We are currently seeking blood samples from Australian Bullmastiffs as a source of genetic material that will help us identify any genetic aberrations that increase the probability of lymphoma development in dogs. If you are a Bullmastiff owner and interested in contributing to our study by submitting a blood sample from your dog please email Sally (details above).

If you are a Bullmastiff owner and interested in contributing to our study by submitting a blood sample from your dog please download the forms below.

  1. Modiano, J.F., et al., Distinct B-cell and T-cell lymphoproliferative disease prevalence among dog breeds indicates heritable risk. Cancer Research, 2005. 65(13): p. 5654-5661.
  2. Villamil, J.A., et al., Hormonal and sex impact on the epidemiology of canine lymphoma. Journal of cancer epidemiology, 2009. 2009: p. 591753
  3. Edwards, D.S., et al., Breed incidence of lymphoma in a UK population of insured dogs. Veterinary and comparative oncology, 2003. 1(4): p. 200-6.